Category Archives: sports

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


Cheer team prepares for upcoming season

When most people think of cheerleaders, they picture a line of peppy, teenage girls jumping up and down, waving their pompoms in the air at a Friday night football game. What they don’t see, however, are the long, painful hours put into practice, fierce competitions and exhaustion from pushing the body to its breaking point.
“Some people take it as a joke sometimes, just because it’s not a very orthodox sport,” senior Kavena Flores said. “They don’t really think about how much work and effort you have to put into it. It’s like any other sport; you go to practices and have games and team bonding.”
The team practices around 11 hours each week to perfect cheers, tumbling and stunts. According to senior Rachel DeRosa, the team captain, practice is also essential in making sure everyone is on the same page.
“You have to make sure everyone works together, because cheer is the kind of sport where if one person falls or if everyone isn’t getting along [it doesn’t work],” DeRosa said.
Cheerleading requires athletes to execute physically strenuous stunts that often involve throwing or holding team members up in the air or maintaining balance for long periods of time
“You have to go through a lot of training to be able to do the tumbling that you have in cheer,” Flores said. “It’s a lot harder than it looks.”
Besides the difficulty of the stunts, Flores said that many people don’t realize how dangerous the sport can be. One flaw can have severe consequences.
“There’s a big injury risk, especially in stunting, since we’re tossing girls 10 feet in the air,” Flores said. “The flyers expect to be caught and not hit the ground, because a lot of concussions can happen that way.”
With the sideline cheer season in full swing, the team members are representing the school with every bit of enthusiasm they have. DeRosa said she particularly loves being able to contribute to the Friday night football game atmosphere.
“I feel like everyone loves football games, and to get to be a part of the experience is really fun,” she said. “When everyone imagines a Friday night football game, it’s the football players on the field and cheerleaders on the sidelines. I feel like it’s kind of what everyone knows as a football game.”
While the team continues to cheer at football games during the sideline cheer season, it also is preparing to compete at meets, where the team is judged on routines. Last year, they ended the competition season at regionals, where they placed seventh. According to sophomore Brielle Phillippe, competition is much more rigorous than sideline.
“Competition is much harder; it’s fast-paced and you’re getting judged on it,” Phillippe said. “You have to mix in tumbling, dancing, and harder stunts.”
In anticipation of the start of this year’s competition season on Sept. 19, they prepared by brushing up on the essentials throughout the preseason.
“We’re really just focusing on the basics,” DeRosa said. “Like anything, before you excel in it you have to get the basics down.”

~katie johnston, managing editor

Golf tees up for postseason

The Fauquier Falcons golf team continues to improve each year. The team’s latest achievement was winning the recently created Fauquier Cup, which took place at Fauquier Springs Country Club on Aug. 9. Competing against Handley, Millbrook, Sherando, James Wood, Liberty and Kettle Run, the Falcons’ first-place finish gave them the confidence needed to begin the season and hit the ground running. Senior Cameron Lee echoed his teammates’ optimism going into the season.

“We won back-to-back the last two years,” Lee said. “At this point it’s like we know what to expect.”

After already claiming a brand-new trophy, it’s easy to see that anything is possible for the Falcons this year.The Falcons did not finish the way they wanted to last season, however. High expectations and confidence led to the team winning the regular season and winning the conference championship, but coming up short at regionals.

“We didn’t really do that well in regionals. I see it as something we can build off of, though,” senior Michael Patchett said. “I think that since we made it last year, there’s no doubt we’ll make it this year. Only difference is, we’re going all the way this time.”

Team members all have done their part in preparing for the season. Different methods of practice distinguish each player in his own way. Senior Cameron Lee said he believes that repetition is the key.

“I’ve gotten better by tanking balls on the course pretty much all summer,” Lee said. “I just spend hours and hours perfecting my stroke.”

Some players, like Patchett and Frankie Strano, oftentimes even play together to strengthen their bonds on and off the course. Having a teammate to face off against also helped Patchett get into the competitive mindset and more, he said.

“We’ve all practiced a lot more,” Patchett said. “Like, Frankie and I have seen a lot more hours on the course together. Practicing with someone you normally play with just prepares you both equally and gets you ready for anything.”

Along with practice, the Falcons have another advantage going into this season: With seven seniors in the main lineup, experience is not a problem. These seven all have been with the team since their freshman year. Averna said he believes the cohesiveness of the group will help make this the best year yet.

“I think it gives us a better shot at going to states,” Averna said. “Being with these guys since freshman year has taught me a lot about teamwork. We’ve all worked so hard to get to the top.”

~nathaniel thomason, entertainment director

Football ready to recapture prestige

In his third season as head coach of the Falcons football team, Joseph Prince is looking to conquer the demons of seasons past. The last times the Falcons reigned victorious versus county rivals Liberty and Kettle Run were in 2002 and 2012, respectively. With that being said, no current players on the team have experienced beating the Eagles or Cougars.
In last year’s final game, the Falcons’ season ended in heartbreak in the Bird Bowl versus Liberty. In what appeared to be a secure victory, the Falcons held the lead by six points until late in the fourth quarter, when the Falcons fumbled the ball on the 10-yard line, allowing the Eagles to score with three seconds left. After converting the extra point, Liberty won the Bird Bowl 28-27.
That game and the 2016 season, in which the Falcons finished 4-6 and fifth in the Evergreen District, has stuck with the players and coaches throughout the offseason and into this year. A single word now is the team’s motto: Finish. Senior Cole Anderson, a team captain, has used that word as motivation.
“Our team goal is to definitely beat Kettle Run and Liberty—that’s always our team goal,” Anderson said. “We haven’t been able to win in the past couple of years, so that’s a big goal this season, along with having a winning record.”
The Falcons enter the 2017 season 1-2 after a 42-0 blowout loss versus the Dominion Titans on Sept. 8. The Titans defense held sophomore quarterback Jackson Eicher to 53 pass yards and junior running back Kevin Chavis to 32 rush yards.
The team-elected captains this season are seniors Franco Camarca, Joey Heisler and Anderson. Prince praised the trio’s value as leaders to the young team.
“I think they work hard, and the kids look up to them because of that,” Prince said. “Those three by far were who [the team] voted for.”
In past seasons, the Falcons have been a run-dominant offense without much game plan in moving the ball through the air; however, the coaching staff will be looking to to implement more of a passing game in the the Falcons’ offense this season, allowing for an for an increased dynamic overall.
“[We’re] trying to be able to throw the ball and move the ball through the air some more to ease up on the running game,” Prince said.
To complement that passing game is Eicher, who earned the starting quarterback spot by performing well in the preseason. Eicher completed 17 passes for 29 attempts for 240 yards in the Falcons’ 21-0 victory over Brentsville Sept. 1.
“He had a couple good scrimmages, he throws a nice ball, and he [has] a pretty good football IQ,” Prince said. “We just [have] to get him more experience under the gun, but he [has] a lot of potential to be a very solid quarterback if he develops, and that’s what we expect of him.”
The Falcons will compete in the new 13-team Northwestern District, which was established this season. It consists of 4A members FHS, Kettle Run, Liberty, James Wood, John Handley, Millbrook and Sherando. Prince said he was concerned about the challenging matchups throughout the schedule, especially the three-game road stretch in September against Dominion, Millbrook and John Handley.
“It’s tough,” Prince said. “Millbrook is talented, Sherando is very good, and John Handley’s improving.”
Additional concerns for Prince this season include the depth of the team and its lack of experience due to an underclassman majority.
“We’re young at some positions, and we’re making some mistakes that young players do,” Prince said. “Hopefully we can get them corrected; they are all correctable mistakes, but we just [have] to do a better job of coaching them up so they don’t make those kind of mistakes in a game. The game is a blur when you’re young sometimes, and we [have] to make them comfortable enough that the game slows down.”
To offset concerns over the inexperience of his younger players, Prince’s seniors will play a large role on the team this season. Along with Camarca, Anderson and Heisler, the senior core this season for the Falcons is represented by Greyson Thomas, Dakari Mullins, Amir Siders and Stephen Potucek. Juniors Chavis and Tommy Schrank add to the upperclassmen group. Chavis ran for 221 yards versus Brentsville.
“I think every year you have to look to your seniors,” Prince said. “I think your seniors have to be your best players or leaders, and I think if you look to one person, your team’s dead.”
One of the top goals for Prince this season is simple: Begin in the classroom. Along with beating the county rivals, having a winning season and making the playoffs, Prince said he wants his team to have a 3.1 average GPA. Last season, the final average GPA of the team was a 2.95.
Team chemistry is another priority that Anderson said he hasn’t seen a lot of in previous seasons.
“We’re having a lot more fun—we’re more of a family this year,” Anderson said. “We hang out a lot more outside of football, and once you have more fun you can play loose and win.”
Prince also emphasized the value of team unity.
“Football’s unlike most sports. In a lot of other sports, one athlete can make you very good; with football, it takes 11,” he said.
Prince said he is looking forward to growing as a team and placing focus on what is controllable.
“Football is always a journey. I’m looking forward to that journey and seeing how it goes,” Prince said. “Hopefully, it goes the way I want it to go. Hopefully, we get better every week. Hopefully, we learn some lessons of how to win, [and] hopefully, the kids will buy into everything. If we just control what we can control, we’ll be fine.”

~alex wright, sports director

Anderson will join Vikings lacrosse at Cleveland State

Senior lacrosse player Cole Anderson has seen his fair share of fame in the papers for his athletic achievements, but his most recent accomplishment might top the rest. Over the summer, Anderson committed to Ohio’s Cleveland State University to play Division I lacrosse.

Anderson has been playing lacrosse for only four years, beginning the sport his freshman year of high school. Even early on, he knew he wanted to continue playing the sport after high school.

“I knew I always wanted to play lacrosse in college ever since I picked up a lacrosse stick,” Anderson said. “It’s been my dream ever since then. It should be the dream for everyone no matter what sport they’re playing. It’s always a big deal when someone finally does it.”

For Anderson, the hardest part of the recruitment process may have been getting noticed. He played on a popular travel team over the summer called the Cavaliers to get recognition from certain colleges he wanted to attend. Schools such as Christopher Newport, Roanoke, and Cattawba made offers to Anderson, but none of them were Division I like he wanted. Eventually, Cleveland State recognized Anderson’s talented and sought him out.

“They actually reached out to me, I’m not sure how they found me, but they reached out to my coach at Fauquier, and he talked to them and set me up for a phone call with their coach,” Anderson said. “Then they invited me to their prospect camp, so I went and played. Then, a week later, they gave me an offer.”

Cleveland State is big on soccer and basketball, but only recently stepped up to the DI level in lacrosse. Anderson said he hoped to help make a name for Cleveland in the early years of its organization.

“Cleveland is a newer team. They just started out in Division I last year, so they have mostly freshmen on their team,” Anderson said. “They play a lot of big-name schools like Penn State, Ohio St., U.Va. Hopefully they’re getting better through the next couple of years so when I get there I can do my best to help.”

Of course many questions come with such a decision, a big one being: Why Cleveland? Anderson said the city is a good fit for a life after college and lacrosse.

“The city itself is really cool, the campus around the city. The coaching staff really liked me—and I really liked them, so it was a perfect fit,” Anderson said. “I’m going to major in sports management. There are a lot of intern opportunities in Cleveland like interning with the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Cleveland Indians. There are just a lot of opportunities for what I want to do in Cleveland. I also just want to stay around sports too.”

Although Anderson said he cannot tell how his first season with the team will go, he has an idea of how he wants to eventually impact the program.“I want to do as much as I can to help our team,” Anderson said.

“I know freshmen don’t  play that much their first year. I’m just gonna try my best—work hard and try my best every day.”

~nathaniel thomason, entertainment director

O’Saben ready to swing into college baseball at UMBC

Over the summer, senior Blaze O’Saben accepted a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The UMBC Retrievers are an NCAA Division I baseball program, competing in the America East Conference.
O’Saben, who verbally committed to UMBC on July 5, began playing 12 years ago, at the age of 5. He said he became intrigued with playing in college during middle school, when his older friends and teammates began to talk about it. Since arriving at FHS, O’Saben has been a member of the varsity baseball team for four years, starting at shortstop. He said he hopes to achieve his sole goal of earning first team 4A all-state honors this season.
Senior teammate Dustin Donner said O’Saben adds tremendous value to the team as a whole.
“[He’s] a great teammate, and can make a team better on and off the field,” Donner said. “Blaze’s work ethic is incredible; he’s always at the cages taking grounders.”
Along with the Falcons varsity baseball team, O’Saben is a member of the Stars showcase baseball team. The Stars are the No. 2 organization from Virginia that puts players into college.
Matt O’Saben, Blaze’s father and coach at FHS, said he has enjoyed watching Blaze grow as an athlete throughout his life.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach him through most of his baseball playing days,” Matt O’Saben said. “It has been fun to watch him go from tee-ball to high school, to grow and develop, to see him work day-in and day-out.”
A week before Blaze O’Saben committed, he visited UMBC for the first time after the coach invited him for an official visit to see the campus and facilities. However, O’Saben said he already felt comfortable and ready to call it home.
“I liked the environment,” he said. “All the buildings are open, and there’s a lot [to do] everywhere. I felt like I had been there before, even though I hadn’t; it was just a really friendly atmosphere.”
The recruiting process was very fast-paced. Blaze O’Saben received significant interest from Radford University, also an NCAA Division I program, located in southwest Virginia. However, UMBC offered a scholarship quickly, playing part into why he committed.
“It was a little hectic,” he said. “A couple colleges notified me all at the same time, and [UMBC] just got to me first. I was talking to Radford longer than [UMBC], but [UMBC] got to me with a scholarship before Radford did, so I went.”
Matt O’Saben said the family was at a baseball tournament in Atlanta when Blaze made his final decision to commit to UMBC.
“We were in our hotel room and the UMBC coach called him,” Matt O’Saben said. “We could hear the excitement in both Blaze’s and the coach’s voice through the phone. It was fun seeing and hearing the excitement. We [couldn’t] be prouder of him.”
Blaze, who is planning to major in business, will receive a 37 percent athletic scholarship his freshman year, with a 51 percent scholarship guaranteed for the following three years.
An attractive component of the process for Blaze O’Saben was the success of the program. Along with their conference tournament champonship, the Retrievers finished 23-25 last season, in their final game, losing to Maryland in the NCAA Regionals.
“I liked their record—it has been pretty good recently,” he said “They’re in a rebuilding stage and they’re still successful and they’re getting all new facilities.”
Matt O’Saben said UMBC’s philosophy as a university and baseball program fits Blaze well.
“We like UMBC’s academic programs and the straightforward nature and approach of their coaching staff,” Matt O’Saben said. “UMBC plays with a chip on their shoulder. They bring guys in that love to play and are willing to outwork their opponents. That fits Blaze’s style, attitude and personality.”

~alex wright, sports director

Field Hockey seeks return to postseason

With their current record of 6-1, the Falcon Field Hockey team is starting the season off strong. With a game against John Champe on Sept. 12, the girls dominated their home turf with a score of 6-1. Scoring four goals in the first half, the team ended the game in a mercy rule, leading by six points in the last 15 minutes of the game. Senior Jo Quinn St. Ledger (co-captain) scored her first two goals since the start of her field hockey career four years ago, along with sophomores Jamie Renzi, Lucy Arnold, junior Meredyth Rankin, and freshman Abby McCuskter.

“Champe got a few corners in a row but [junior] Taylor DeHaven (goalie) did a good job as goal keeper, but for the most part we kept the ball in their defense,” St. Ledger said.

With a score of 1-0, FHS beat Loudoun County’s Freedom on Sept. 11. DeHaven says that defense worked hard on keeping the ball out of the net and overall, the excitement on the game was due to the close score.

“[The game] started out really slow but we knew that if we really tried to communicate we would beat them,” DeHaven said. “After the first 15 minutes we still weren’t communicating a whole lot, which was one of our biggest problems throughout the whole game. We had a lot of fast breaks and give and gos; defense was great on keeping the ball out of the circle. I only got a couple shots on me.”

On Sept. 7, the Falcons secured a 2-0 victory against Kettle Run at Falcon Field, resulting in a 2-0 win for FHS. Coach Brooke Settle wasn’t able to attend, because she was on maternity leave taking care of her newborn son, Landon. Junior Madison Filson said that the team played in dedication to their coach, and used that as motivation to win against the county rival Cougars

“It was kind of intense; our coach wasn’t there so we were faced timing her during half time and it really hyped us it.” Filson said. “During the second half we definitely picked up the intensity and had the motivation to get those goals and try our hardest, even if we had no energy left. [Playing against Kettle Run is] always a hard game and we always put our best in the game, so it was huge to win.”

Despite being early in the season, senior Caroline Diehl (co-captain) is confident in the team’s playing ability and says that the team needs to focus on having the right mentality in order to be successful on the field.

“It’s all about mentality,” Diehl said. “A lot of times when we play other teams we [psych ourselves out]. We care too much about what other schools and teams are up to but it doesn’t affect us and we shouldn’t be thinking about it. [We need to] just pushing aside what we think is going to happen and just play.”

On Aug. 30, the Falcons lost 2-0 versus Briar Woods, suffering their first loss of the season. After starting the game with a lack of intensity in the first half, Diehl says that part of the loss came from the change in terrain, since Fauquier fields have grass instead of turf. She said that starting out strong and working on fundamentals is a key factor in improving their game skills.

“It can take a while to build up our intensity, so think that’s our main thing [to work on],” Diehl said. “Our old formation was very defensive minded, it had a lot of gap in it, but our new one is more offensive that has support everywhere; since it’s early in the season it’s hard to tell but I think it’s going to help us a lot in being a more offensive things.”

St. Ledger said that switching the team’s lineup after its preseason scrimmage helped create more flow on the field and perfect their passing triangles, a tactic used to have multiple passing options. She also said that team bonding is essential to having chemistry on the field in field hockey, a sport where players are constantly shifting positions. However, there is always room for improvement.

“We can always communicate more; when you have communication, things can go a lot smoother,” St. Ledger said.  

Diehl said a main goal for the team, aside from playing to their full potential, is to have fun. In addition to practices, the team also tries to bond outside of school as well, by going to team sleepovers.

“The closer we are, the better we’re going to play and mesh on the field,” Diehl said. “We do have some fun, a lot of the times we’ll always do team bonding games but when it’s time to practice we get serious.”

The team’s chemistry allows the girls to communicate well DeHaven added.

“We’ve played together for three and four years,” DeHaven said. “W know what everyone’s strength and weaknesses are. So we try to place everyone in the positions that work for them. We try to be a fast paced team, we’re just well rounded all and all.”

Despite the early season, the team is confident in their abilities and hopes to make it back to states this year, to finish what they started.

“Everyone who is on the team is good skill wise but some fundamental things go a long way, like our passing and our shots,” Diehl said. “I can already tell we’re improving on our mistakes.”

~erica gudino, editor-in-chief