Fauquier falls short in hard-fought Homecoming game

 

Last Friday at Falcon Field, the Fauquier varsity football team battled against the John Handley Judges for the annual Homecoming football game. The game was played on very muddy and wet grass, which made both teams change up their styles because of the condition.

Last week was Homecoming week for Fauquier High School, which included a spirit week, a school-wide pep rally, and a parade. This all led up to the football game and the dance itself. The homecoming game brought the biggest crowd that came out and supported the Falcons all season, and it showed.

“It was really loud,” sophomore Paul Heisler said. “You couldn’t hear the count, which happened when I jumped off sides.”

Falcon Field was very loud during the game, as The Zoo was filled up. “That was a good crowd,” Zoo Captain and senior Carson McCusker said. “Obviously we were disappointed with how it ended, but it was a good game and the crowd was into it pretty much the whole game.”

Fauquier, with some early season struggles, went into the game 0-4, while Handley went into the game 4-1 with their only loss being to Kettle Run High School. Once the game started off, the Falcon defense started well and never really let up. The Falcon offense, however, struggled to get much going. At halftime, the score was 6-0 Fauquier.

During halftime, the 2018 Fauquier High School Homecoming court was brought onto the field and honored. Following this, the Homecoming King and Queen, McCusker and senior Madeleine Hayes, were announced, which allowed both football teams to get a few minutes more rest than usual.

After halftime, both teams picked up right where they left off, both defenses making up for both offenses. Entering the fourth quarter, the score was tied up at 6-6. Once again, both defenses did their jobs in the fourth quarter, until the last Handley drive. The Judges were in the red zone with under four minutes to go. It was fourth and goal for Handley, and they took a shot to the end-zone, when the Fauquier defense stepped up, and smacked to ball to the ground. The Fauquier offense took over with around three minutes left in the game, but never got anything going, so the game carried on into extra minutes.

During overtime, Handley got the ball first, and made the most of it with a touchdown pass to the post.

“That guy when they scored… they had a great scheme going in overtime,” quarterback and sophomore J.T. Diehl said.

The Falcons were forced to score, or else they would lose. Fauquier faced a fourth and goal from the nine, and the Handley defense rose up and made a stop. The Fauquier quarterback was forced to rush a throw, which fell incomplete to end the game. Falcon Field, which was so energetic a few moments earlier, fell completely silent.

The final score was 13-6, John Handley.

“We had some good plays,” Diehl said. “In overtime though, once they scored we all dropped our heads. We need to focus on more practices, and pick up our heads after they score a touchdown.”

Diehl acknowledges that the team could still improve many aspects of their performance, but is still optimistic that they are a hard-working team.

“I think we performed pretty well, but we definitely could have played a lot better.” Diehl said. “I think a bunch of us played super hard, and I think we played overall pretty well, but there’s still a lot of mistakes to be fixed.”

The Falcons play an away game against Kettle Run High School tomorrow night, and Diehl is still optimistic that the team still has some tricks up its sleeve.

“I think that our record does not show how good we are. We can be a better team overall.”

by Tayte Mills – Staff Reporter

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The Hate U Give offers powerful, relevant message about police violence

Police violence against African-Americans is a hotly debated and controversial topic in the United States. George Tillman Jr.’s movie The Hate U Give, based on the bestselling book, tackles that issue head on. It has been a good year for films that garner a political message with movies like BlacKkKlansman, and this is another worthy addition to the genre.

On the surface, it seems like just another teen drama with a slight twist to it: one that panders to teenagers to make box office money. This could not be farther from the truth. The Hate U Give centers around Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), a teenage girl who witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend by a police officer when they were pulled over just for switching lanes without a signal. This causes contention around the community, similar to what occurred in Ferguson, Missouri with the shooting of Michael Brown Jr. The film chronicles Starr’s journey as she finds her voice and all the troubles that come with it, such as fitting in with her majority white high school and avoiding the drug dealers who want to prevent her from speaking out.

The best thing I can possibly say about The Hate U Give is that it will inspire viewers to take action. By the end of the film, anybody who received the message will want to storm out of the theater and participate in a local march. Many messages involving racism reverberate throughout this movie. One of the more relevant ones is a comment on the white people who like to act like they are black to look cool, but then disrespect the culture on their spare time. More people like this exist than one would believe, and the movie takes the time to throw some much-needed shade towards them.

The main message of the film, however, is how the public opinion on police violence is that the policeman was just doing his job despite having killed an unarmed man for no good reason. Would that same policeman have done the same thing if it was a white man? These are the questions that this film needed to ask and it definitely succeeds in asking them. It then asks the audience to examine the double standard that plagues African-Americans on the daily.

The shining stars of the film acting-wise are definitely Stenberg as the lead, who really gives the audience an insight into the trauma that one goes through when their friend is murdered right in front of them, and Russell Hornsby as Stenberg’s father, who has multiple stirring monologues that are impeccably well-delivered.

Problems with the film are relatively minimal, but they still surface, and nearly all of them have to do with the final twenty minutes. Without completely spoiling the movie, the ending felt a little sugarcoated given the gritty nature of the rest of the film. It tries to tie all the plotlines together with a bow and claims that love will prevail, but I feel the movie would have had an even bigger impact if it had left us with some of the previous, more hard-hitting messages.

Another slight flaw was a particularly cheesy scene in the end involving the main character’s little brother that I will not get into for spoiler reasons. However, the film came together well other than that, and none of these flaws were enough to degrade the powerful message that the film exhibits in the first and second acts.

The Hate U Give is definitely worth a watch, and will most likely change your perspective on the issue of police violence. This is Tillman’s best film so far, and promises great things in the future for Stenberg.

The Hate U Give will be in theaters everywhere on October 19.

-by Joel Alexander

Spike Lee makes a powerful political statement with BlacKkKlansman: a modern-day masterwork

Acclaimed writer/director Spike Lee has returned with his newest joint and he is back with a vengeance, for BlacKkKlansman is a force to be reckoned with. Lee’s film is a true story about a black man named Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington) who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. Sound ridiculous? It is. This is a movie that, conceptually, shouldn’t work, but somehow it is one of the most enthralling, hilarious, and powerful films of the year.

When it comes to politics, Lee is no stranger: in BlacKkKlansman he takes many controversial issues head on such as police brutality, the state of the nation, and the potential racism of the current president. He takes on all of these issues magnificently in a 1970s setting, which furthermore enforces his point that not much has changed between then and now. One would think that a historical drama about the KKK would be an exploration into history, but that is not what the movie has in store. Lee wants to shine a mirror up to every American citizen and ask them, “Are you content with the current state of society?”

Despite all of the politics, Lee still crafts a thrilling and fun ride throughout, and actually makes this one of the funniest films of the past couple months. Much of that humor is executed so well because of Adam Driver (Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi), who plays the white man that physically appears in the form of Ron Stallworth at the Klan rallies. Driver is easily the standout in this film: he shows a spectrum of emotional depth, becomes one of the most likeable characters, and is at the center of the most complex and nail-biting scenes. Washington also shines as the lead role; he talks quite a bit like his all-too-famous father (Denzel), but also shows that he is an excellent actor in his own right.

One detail about BlacKkKlansman that I truly did not expect going in, was that I would get to know these Klan members. Lee portrays them not as truly evil people, but as normal citizens that just happen to have a severely misguided look at society. The film in no way supports these hateful people, but it takes the same approach that Ron Stallworth does when looking at the Klan: fascinated by what drives them and how they became to think the way they do.

The flaws this movie contains are quite minimal. Only small things stood out, such as a rally scene in the beginning that lasted about a minute too long (but it was so well shot that I didn’t mind), or the fact that I could, for the most part, tell which events were true and which weren’t (but the script was so well written that, again, I didn’t mind). The only outstanding flaw seemed to be that Stallworth himself was not given much background, but even this was pushed under the surface by the complexity of the events happening on screen.

BlacKkKlansman is important. Not everybody will agree with the political message it sends, but it is still one heck of a roller-coaster ride from beginning to end. It is funny, timely, well-acted, emotional, and a whole bunch of other qualities that Oscar voters should eat right up.

At the end of the movie, despite having laughed through the majority of it, nearly all of the audience in my theater was crying. That’s the type of impact that the message of BlacKkKlansman creates.

BlacKkKlansman is is in theaters everywhere now and it is rated R for language throughout, including racial epithets, and for disturbing/violent material and some sexual references.

-by Joel Alexander

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: a charming romantic comedy with a disappointing, conventional ending

 

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is another Netflix original film that approaches the typical high school comedy in a slightly different way. It centers around an incredibly antisocial teenage girl (Lana Condor) who writes fake letters to every boy that she’s had an intense crush on. She keeps these letters secret and hides them below her bed, but all of that changes once her little sister actually sends them out to the objects of her affection.

Netflix has released more movies recently than many of the major production companies, and, quite honestly, many of them have been completely insufferable. Getting through The Package and Brain on Fire was harder than paying attention to a three-hour powerpoint presentation on thermodynamics. Luckily, Netflix has finally shown some potential with this film, which is a charming retelling of the book of the same name by Jenny Han.

The characters are made so personable because the actors really put effort into bringing them off the page in a lifelike way. The ensemble cast is competent overall, but the one who really rises above the rest is Noah Centineo as one of the subjects of the aforementioned letters. Centineo brings a charisma to his role that, frankly, made the other actors look more mediocre than they actually were. It is also really nice to see an Asian-American female lead in a major film like this. Between Crazy Rich Asians and now To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, it seems that inclusion is making a rise in Hollywood at long last.

One particular aspect of these teen films that I always pick on is the high school part and its accuracy to high school in real life (which may be because I’m actually in high school). Thankfully my critiquing was kept to a minimum, because for the majority of the film, they portray high school as it is. There is no typical “bully” character, the high school characters aren’t pigeonholed into groups of people (thespians, jocks, etc.) and there actors don’t look like they are all thirty-six years old. One thing that struck a chord for me, in particular, was the struggle of finding people to sit with during lunch time, which is something most people can sympathise with.

However, this lack of clichés completely disappears when the final third of the movie starts, which is where nearly all of my problems with the film lie. Until then, the story involving the letters was funny, charming, and compelling, but the final act takes it to a slightly different direction that tarnishes the films experience as a whole. My biggest gripe with this movie is that the writers decide to resort to completely manufactured and unnecessary conflicts in the last thirty minutes. It is also painfully easy to tell exactly where it is going in that amount of time. It seems like the writers thought up this great plot involving letters, had it all written out, and then had absolutely no clue how to end it. So, of course, when in doubt they turned to every cliché in the book to finalize it out.

The final act didn’t keep me from enjoying the good things that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before had to offer, but it definitely didn’t help my overall perception of the film. As Netflix teen comedies go, this is one of the better ones, probably right up there with Alex Strangelove. However, if you are looking for a good high school movie or TV show then I also highly recommend Love, Simon.

Netflix has had some real stinkers lately (*cough* Mute *cough*), so it’s nice to see a release that is a genuinely enjoyable film, even if it doesn’t 100% stick the landing. If the plot doesn’t interest you, the characters will still likely win you over by the halfway point; this is more than can be said about many other films released throughout this summer.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is streaming on Netflix today.  

by Joel Alexander

Boys basketball shoots into new season: Brizzi and the Falcons look to improve on eight-point record

Despite only having an eight-win season last year, the Falcons remained competitive throughout most of their games. This will be used as a fuel to grow for head coach Wayne Brizzi and the boys basketball team, looking to carry their offseason momentum into a new year.

“If the offseason is any indication of our upcoming regular season, we will have a tough and hardworking team,” Brizzi said.

The Falcons will first need to replace Grant Keithley and John Smith, two standout stars from last season lost to graduation. Both were key components to the offense, with Keithley the team high scorer, averaging 15 ppg shooting 42 percent from the field. Smith averaged 10.9 ppg shooting 47 percent from the field. The team will look to seniors Frank Strano and Dakari Mullins to fill the void, both among last season’s top scorers behind Keithley and Smith.

“We know that losing our top two leading scorers from last season,” Brizzi said. “Grant Keithley and John Smith may be a challenge, but I feel excited about this year’s senior class to fill their shoes.”

This season, Brizzi and the team are confident that their training and preparation will help power them through the year, helping them improve the minor details. The Falcons start the season away facing non-conference opponent Charlottesville on Nov. 25.

“Our strong suit is the hard work our players are bringing. We’ll work on becoming more consistent on every possession, both defensively and offensively,” Brizzi said. “Our number one goal is to improve every day and every game, and to be in the mix of the playoffs at the end of the regular season.”

~alex wright, sports director

Lamper commits to play on Rams softball freshman year

After visiting Shepherd University over the summer, senior Sarah Lamper signed to play softball this fall. This makes Lamper the third FHS student to join Rams softball , following alumni Leann Brown and Rachel Taylor. Shepherd University is an NCAA Division II college in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, competing in the Mountain East Conference.

The recruitment process was a long one, she said. The Rams recently changed coaches, and after being offered a place on the roster from the previous coach, Lamper had to start over once the current coach took over.

“The new coach was so busy getting back in the swing of things so I couldn’t get a hold of her for a really long time,” Lamper said. “I had been in communication with the coach, and I got her to come and see me play in some games and I got to practice with her team. After she offered me a spot on the roster.”

For the last 10 years, softball has been a core aspect of Lamper’s life. Even though she began at second base and outfield, she gradually worked her way up to becoming a pitcher. In addition to the school team, she has played with the Fauquier Freeze 18U team for three years, as well as the recently combined Fauquier Freeze–Ott team for the last year. Softball coach Mark Ott, who has been coaching Lamper since she was 9 years old, said he is confident in her ability to thrive at Shepherd.

“She is a coach’s dream,” Ott said. “She is very enthusiastic about what she does. She works so hard and never complains about anything. I don’t think anybody can have a better teammate that her; whether she’s pitching or not, she is cheering on for whoever is.”

Although she was offered a spot at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Lamper said she knew that Shepherd was right for her. Even though playing softball in college was a priority, she also made sure that they provided classes for her major and that she was still close to her family.

“I just really like the area,” Lamper said. “It’s a really cute, small town, and it kind of feels like home. It’s really scenic and it’s also close to home; I didn’t want to go too far away.”

Lamper is planning to pursue a career in occupational therapy after college, and although Shepherd does not have that program, they do offer the classes needed before getting a master’s degree. Balancing school work and adjusting to college will bring challenges, Lamper said, but she feels that softball is her way to cope with stress.

“Softball has helped me with a lot of things in life and it is a way for me to get away from everything else,” she said. “It’s a good thing to have as I continue through school.”
Ott said he is confident that Lamper will thrive at Shepherd and feels that she will fit right into the community.

“My words of advice are keep doing what she’s doing,” Ott said. “That’s all she can do, because she is a phenomenal individual. She’ll do well, and I think she’ll make a big impact this year.”

Even though Lamper has secured a spot on the team, she said she hopes to improve her stats before entering on the Shepherd team, increasing her ability for more opportunities as a college freshman.

“I hope to start at Shepherd; it’s kind of a big hope for a freshman pitcher,” Lamper said. “They only have two [pitchers] this year, and I know that they’re trying to bring in three with my class. There’s going to be a lot of competition, but I plan to work hard.”

~erica gudino, editor-in-chief

Football looks back: Team reflects on highlights and missed opportunities

After finishing 2-8, the 2017 season now holds the title for the worst record in the last decade for Falcon football. However, this may have been the hardest schedule in years for the Falcons, as eight of the ten teams they played went to the playoffs this season, combining for a total record of 60-27 among them all. For head coach Joseph Prince, despite the disappointing season, he can still take away a few positives.

“We played some pretty hard teams,” Prince said. “The number of wins doesn’t always concern me, and I felt like we competed in a lot of games. I enjoyed working with the guys and the coaches that we had. That’s the part I enjoy about football the most.”

Yet still, after three seasons as head coach, Prince has not beaten either county rival and still hasn’t made the playoffs, dropping his overall record at FHS to 11-19. Both of these were major goals for the team this season, and with the last times the Falcons reigned victorious versus county rivals Liberty and Kettle Run was in 2002 and 2012, leaving no seniors to have ever experienced beating the Eagles or Cougars.

The Falcons lost 21-20 in a close game against Kettle Run on Oct. 6 but fell to Liberty on Nov. 11 in a 57-13 blowout. Both opponents made the playoffs.

“We had our shot against Kettle Run, went for two, and just didn’t execute. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with penalties that night,” Prince said. “In the Liberty game, we had some momentum when we blocked the punt, and scored two quick ones [to get] back into it—we just didn’t capitalize. Liberty is a very good football team; both teams are.”

Along with remaining competitive in most games, a few more positives can be taken away from the season, including junior running back Kevin Chavis’ 1,000 yard season, where he lead the district in rushing yards. Chavis also secured a spot on the first team All-Northwestern District, along with senior captains Joe Heisler (Center/All-purpose), Cole Anderson (Linebacker), and Franco Camarca (Tackle/guard). The team will be graduating eleven seniors.

In the future, Prince wants to establish more depth within the team, something they were plagued by throughout the season. He said a key to that will be keeping players for all four years, providing a greater amount of time to develop.

“We need to get kids that can play football, to play football,” Prince said. “We have a lot of kids in our school that don’t play, [and] it would be nice to have them. We need more depth, that probably hurts us as much as anything [because] when someone goes down it really puts us in a bind.”

This offseason, Prince will be emphasizing training in weight room to prepare for next season.

“We have to get in the weight room and get stronger, were lifting three days a week and we have to convince our kids they have to get stronger,” Prince said. “You have to pay the price in the weight room, you have to be there if you want to get stronger.”

~alex wright, sports director

Fauquier High School's student newspaper. By the students, for the students.