By Julie Felgar
On Friday September 24, the 3B Mustangs will take the field with the hopes to extend their strong season start with a win over district rival Brentsville High School.
This will be the first home game since school has been back in session and attendance is expected to be large.
With only 4 home games this season and after a spring season with no fans in the stands, the Mustangs want to make every single home game count.
Senior Captain and quarterback Evans Rice reflected on having the fans back this year, “We’re so pumped to be back in front of the home crowd again. The energy we get from them is unmatched. The spring season simply wasn’t the same without them.”
The Mustangs have had early wins over much larger rivals, Falls Church High School (37-7) and Langley High School (28-7).
The football team, which has only 32 players on the roster, boasts 23 seniors. It is one of the largest senior classes in recent program history and many of them have been playing together for 4 years.
The Mustangs’ one loss came at the hands of a talented, and deep bench, 4A Kettle Run team. The game was tied until late in the third quarter, but ultimately Kettle Run was able to pull away for the win. Kettle Run also beat Brentsville.
Coach Adam Amerine is confident his team has what they need to succeed against Brentsville and the rest of the conference opponents, but takes a week to week approach to the season. “Our goal is to go 1-0 each week and each contest presents a new challenge and new hurdle for this program.” states Amerine.
After the unusual Covid spring 2021 season, which was only 6 games, the Mustangs ended as co-district champions.
The bar is set higher this year according to senior captain Graham Felgar, “We don’t plan on just a district championship, we want to go further, a regional championship, even states. Obviously, that will take a lot of effort and energy, but we can do it if we stay healthy and continue to stay focused and work hard.”
On offense, senior runningback Patrick Whitaker has had a strong start with four touchdown passes and over 500 yards rushing, followed by senior George Papadopoulos with 199 yards rushing.
Rice has had the opportunity to throw more this year and has five passing touchdowns. Three of these have been to Graham Felgar with an average of 33 yards on the receptions.
On defense, Senior Josh Stillwagoner is leading the team with 23 tackles followed by Graham Felgar with 21 tackles. Coach Amerine credits the strong season start though with a whole team effort.
The blocking by the O-line has improved significantly this year and 6-7 players are rushing the ball each game.
This year, the Mustangs have one of the largest and most athletic JV teams the school has had for almost a decade.
Losing 23 seniors will not be easy next year, but the team will be set up for success in coming years through strong participation and talent in the lower grades.
Kickoff for the varsity game against Brentsville will be at 7 p.m. this Friday, September 24 at Meridian High School.
The homecoming game against Skyline will take place the following Friday, October 1. Admission is five dollars.