Clash of the defenses: Fauquier football to host Kettle Run Friday at Falcon Field
Denzel Champion and the Kettle Run Cougars hope for revenge Friday when they invade a charged Falcon Field for their seventh all-time game against county rival Fauquier. --Fauquier Times Staff Photos/Randy Litzinger
The Fauquier Falcons (3-2) will host the first intra-county game of the football season Friday against the Kettle Run Cougars (3-2).
“We live for this. We love it,” Kettle Run senior Evan Szklennik said. “We’ve just got to play through the hype and execute our game plan.”
The Cougars didn’t do that well enough last season. They lost to Fauquier, 17-10, in overtime in Warrenton. So they’ll return to Falcon Field having plotted revenge.
“The atmosphere there at their place, back-to-back seasons, it’s going to be huge,” Szklennik said. “It’s always a heated rivalry between us and Fauquier.”
The Falcons and Cougars will enter the game with identical 3-2 records. In fact, they have won in lockstep this season, currently riding two-game winning streaks after losing their first games, winning their second games and losing in their third games.
Fauquier spent last weekend stagnant with a bye week, while Kettle Run picked up a monumental win, 17-3, over John Handley.
“What worries me is how much confidence they have coming into this game,” Falcon coach Jamie Carter said. “That’s big accomplishment holding [Handley] to three” points.
Carter knows about Handley’s prolific offense firsthand. The Judges beat Fauquier, 45-21, Sept. 13.
Regardless, Fauquier is actually one of only five teams that have a winning record all-time against Kettle Run (see box) at 4-2. The Cougars’ lone wins came in 2011.
“They’re fired up, especially after having the bye week,” Carter said of his guys. “They’re ready to get on the field. … The kids love playing in big games and against country rivals.”
Last season, Szklennik scored Kettle Run’s 10 points against Fauquier with a 59-yard touchdown reception and a 19-yard field goal that forced overtime. The Cougars outgained the Falcons 240-164 in total yards, including a 145-28 rushing advantage.
Kettle Run, however, lost the turnover battle, 3-2, and failed to counter a touchdown that Fauquier scored to begin overtime.
Both teams are different now, each with a first-year starting quarterback. Both are run-reliant.
The Falcons have run on 63 percent of their offensive plays. They average 176.2 rushing yards per game, compared to 107.8 passing, and 13 of their 15 touchdowns have come on the ground.
“They’ve gone from slinging it around the yard to being a spread team that runs the football,” Lloyd said of the Falcons. “It could be a low-scoring event. We need to force them to earn everything they get, and we can’t lose the turnover battle.”
Kettle Run has a negative turnover ratio (11:13), but its defense has still allowed only 12.8 points per game in its 3-5 scheme. “They’re blitzing guys everywhere, and that could give us problems,” Carter said. “We’ve got to win the field position battle and … capitalize on every opportunity because [points are] going to be hard to come by."
Running 73 percent of the time. Kettle Run is even more skewed to the run than Fauquier. The Cougars average 164.4 rushing yards, compared to 91.4 passing.
“They run straight ahead time after time,” Carter said. “On paper we should be able to handle that, but at times we haven’t been able to” against other opponents.
Carter said the Falcons hope to force Kettle Run into third down passing situations. Last weekend, the Cougars completed only one pass for eight yards against Handley.
“We will have to be able to sustain our blocks when we try to throw the ball,” Lloyd said. “They rush the passer very well. … Their defensive line is really talented.”
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2012 Fauquier 17-10 (OT)
2011 Kettle Run 42-0
2011 Kettle Run 21-3*
2010 Fauquier 26-13
2009 Fauquier 35-14
2008 Fauquier 52-6
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