Playoff predictions pick Patriots

Heading into week 14 the playoff picture is beginning to take form. The Texans, Falcons, and Ravens are pulling ahead of the pack, while the Chiefs, Jets, and Panthers are competing to be the worst teams in the league.

In the wacky world of football the key for success is consistency, which has been lacking this season. Major blowouts in headline games such as the 49ers manhandling of the Bears or the Giants beating of the Packers, caused critics to question the power of the best teams in the NFL. At one point, the Belichick/Brady-led Patriots had a losing record, which is unheard of since the early 2000s. But all is falling back together now, right?

Wrong. The end of this season should prove to be explosive with emerging talent and playoff spoilers. The NFC, specifically, is so boggled up that six or more teams may fight for the last two playoff spots. Easy playoffs picks, such as the Falcons and Bears are obvious contenders, but what about Seattle and New Orleans? Those teams will be a thorn in the side of top contenders looking for home field advantage.

The Green Bay Packers are likely to have as hot a run into the playoffs as they did in their 2010 Super Bowl season. Aaron Rodgers returned to MVP form when he threw for six touchdowns and 342 yards against the Texans. Their huge test will come week 15 in Chicago. The Colts could end up being a surprising wild card team. Andrew Luck put up record setting rookie numbers while bringing the Colts from a two win team to a playoff contender. If the Colts make the playoffs as a wildcard, they may be destined for a matchup against Peyton Manning’s Broncos in the first round. If Luck, who replaced Manning, gets a shot at taking down the master, the television ratings would be huge.

In the end, the best team wins the big game. The New England Patriots will face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Why, you ask? Because these teams are the best. The Patriots have the best offense in the league, averaging over 400 yards and 33 points per game. The 49ers have the best defense, ranking first in the NFL and giving up only 14 points per game. They are also top five against the pass and run. This is a matchup of superstars. Linebacker Patrick Willis against quarterback Tom Brady, it would be the most balanced clash of teams since the Colts and Bears matchup in 2007. Sophmore QB Colin Kaepernick will have his time to shine against the Patriots, but the pure firepower of the Patriots offense combined with a probable slip up from the 49ers young QB will turn into a 28-20 Patriots victory.

~Josh Henry, design editor

Hockey places fourth at states


courtesy of denise barrett
Freshman Micensie Barrett controls the ball during the state semi-final on Nov. 9 against Tabb High School. The Falcons fell, 8-0. The varsity team, also district champions, made an appearance in the state tournament for the third time in four years.

After a 0-4 start, the varsity field hockey team turned their season around, winning the title of district champions after defeating Kettle Run 2-1 on Oct. 17. Following a Nov. 1 loss to Charlottesville, the team was named the regional runner-up for a second season, earning a trip to the state quarterfinals in Virginia Beach. In the first round of state play, the Falcons defeated Northhampton, 3-0 on Nov. 6. In the Nov. 9 semi-finals against three-time champion Tabb, Fauquier was eliminated from the state tournament, falling with a score of 8-0.

“It’s an unreal feeling to know that we were losing at first and still were able to make it that far,” sophomore Allie White said. “This year, we really got to see what it was like to be the underdog. We defied all predictions. We showed the other teams we weren’t about to give up, which shot us to the final four.”

The team’s accomplishments continued to pile up even after the season was over. The Falcons had 11 players named to the all-district team, as well as seven players named to the all-region team. White was named Evergreen District offensive player of the year, while senior Hailey Miller was named overall player of the year.

“When I found out I was [offensive player of the year], I was speechless,” White said. “Coach Settle told me that in her hockey experience, she has never heard of a sophomore being named player of the year, and I was most likely the first. I screamed a little bit.”

With a roster of only four seniors, White says the team will be ready to compete again next year.

“If this group of girls were all beginners and new to the game, I can’t wait to see what the next two years will be like,” White said.

~Abby Seitz, sports director

Students see Newseum

The Newseum includes the largest display of the Berlin Wall of any museum. Each of the eight graffitied slabs are 12 feet high and weigh almost three tons. The guard tower, known as Checkpoint Charlie, is also on display. The tower is a symbol of the defeat of tyranny.
The Newseum includes the largest display of the Berlin Wall of any museum. Each of the eight graffitied slabs are 12 feet high and weigh almost three tons. The guard tower, known as Checkpoint Charlie, is also on display. The tower is a symbol of the defeat of tyranny.

Journalism, photojournalism, and Voices and Visions staff attended a field trip to the Newseum in Washington, D.C, on Nov. 20. More than 45 students participated, and the trip was chaperoned by English teachers Nicole Schiffhauer, Lindell Palmer, and Marie Miller.

Palmer is a personal fan of the Newseum and hopes his student’s gain as much from the experience as he does.

“It’s the best of all worlds,” Palmer said. “Each time I go I find new things to see. It’s such a massive place you can never see it all at once. Every time I go I tend to see some of the same things over again, just to reconsider them. It’s a museum that documents history and at the same time how media has changed throughout the years. You not only learn about media and journalism, but you also learn about history.”

Schiffhauer shares Palmer’s admiration and is confident her students learn a lot from the experience.

“Students are exposed to all areas of journalism at the Newseum,” Shiffhauer said. “For photojournalism students, the hall of photographs really puts into perspective the realness of the job; the monument to those who have lost their lives in the field reinforces the gravity of their work, and seeing the history of journalism evolve into modern-day journalism affords students the opportunity to appreciate how far we’ve come in the field. In my opinion, any student aspiring to go into some sort of communications field should visit the Newseum.”

Junior Jackie Nungesser felt the trip was worthwhile.

“It was cool to be able to go there and learn new things,” Nungesser said. “My favorite exhibit was probably the Pulitzer Prize winning pictures. They were so intense. I got really emotional looking at them.”

Junior Kerian McDonald found a newfound respect for journalists in the 9/11 documentary, produced and screened by the Newseum.

“The 9/11 movie with the reporters talking about their first hand experience was pretty crazy,” McDonald said. “It was really moving to see how they risked their lives like that.”

Both Palmer and Schiffhauer received glowing feedback from their students, and feel the trip was a day well spent.

“Students love the Newseum,” Schiffhauer said. “They get to see and experience things there that wouldn’t be possible elsewhere. Most of my students end up taking their friends and family back to the Newseum. In my experience, students walk away from their time at the Newseum enlightened; they find that they have a new-found respect for the happenings of the world and how the media covers it. In some cases, they come away with the drive to make their dreams of being a photojournalist a true reality.”

~Patrick Duggan, news director

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