Falcons avoid Homecoming disaster, eke out 21-20 win
Saturday, Sep. 28
Fauquier running back Keion Lewis scored two
touchdowns in Fauquier's 21-20 homecoming
win over James Wood. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
The Fauquier Falcons had every reason to believe Friday’s Homecoming Game against winless James Wood would be a breeze.
It almost turned into Nightmare at Falcon Field.
Fauquier required a late interception by Marcus Campbell to secure a 21-20 win in their 51st Homecoming game, allowing the Falcons to run out the clock and coach Jamie Carter to finally exhale.
“After picking off the pass it was the same feeling I had the whole game, it wasn’t a good one. Once that horn went off, now that was a good feeling,” said Carter. “It was good to gut one out and get a win here.”
In a back-and-forth contest, the Falcons (3-2) took a 21-20 lead with six minutes left on junior quarterback Louis Heisler’s 9-yard touchdown run and D.J. Helkowski’s crucial extra point.
Unveiling a surprising spread attack, James Wood had leads of 7-0, 13-7 and 20-14 and easily could have won if the Falcons had not executed their game-winning drive..
After reviewing film all week Carter and company did not expect James Wood (0-5) to come out passing as frequently as they did.
“We were totally unprepared for any spread attack. They never showed any of those sets on film,” said Carter. “It was a total shock to us, but we were lucky we were able to adjust.”
Two long pass plays helped set up a Colonels score on a 1-yard TD run by Tyler Bishop on the game’s long opening 78-yard drive as James Wood led 7-0.
Fauquier tied it at 7-7 before James Wood went 98 yards on six plays, highlighted by a 60-yard catch and run to set up a 13-yard TD pass from Camden Butler to Nick Manuel.
The Falcons blocked the extra point.
In the first half the Colonels racked up 145 yards through the air, forcing FHS to make adjustments at halftime.
“We had been seeing a run-run-run team on film. When they came out and started throwing it caught us off guard a little bit,” said senior lineman Brady Burr. “We were a little rusty so I was worried going into that fourth quarter, but I am proud of our guys.”
Even with the Colonels’ success through the air, the Falcons had two first half interceptions.
“The way we try to fly to the football we don’t expect turnovers to happen but we aren’t too surprised when they do,” said Carter. “That is our defensive philosophy. When you get to the ball as fast and hard as you can, you can create these turnover opportunities.”
Offensively the Falcons were dominant on the ground as they amassed 217 total rushing yards. Senior Todd Jordan got the bulk of the carries (90 yards, 18 attempts), but it was sophomore Keion Lewis who found the end zone twice on a second quarter and third quarter TDs -- his first TDs of the year.
Lewis racked up 74 yards on 8 carries. His only other career touchdown came last year in the playoff loss to Monticello.
“I couldn’t ask for a better line and Todd (Jordan) motivated me the whole game,” said Lewis. “It’s amazing. I’ve never felt anything like this. It’s like the best night I’ve had in my life. I’m so happy it happened with this team on this field tonight”
After Lewis' 6-yard TD run gave FHS a 14-13 lead, the Falcons later fumbled, with the Colonels taking possession at the FHS 31.
Butler hit junior tight end Colin Benner for 21 yards. Two plays later Butler connected with Dakota Orndorff on a slant route for a 10-yard TD and 20-14 James Wood lead.
On the next drive the Falcons fought back and drove 65 yards on 10 plays to take the lead on Heisler's TD run and Helkowski extra point.
Heisler was clutch passing in that drive, especially to senior Leif Heltzel, who gained 18 yards on one play. Hesiler went to Heltzel again on a fourth-and-5 for an 11-yard completion.
Two plays later Heisler was in the end zone -- producing a super slim Homecoming victory that was the source for celebration in the Falcon locker room.
“We persevered the whole game,” said Lewis. “I couldn’t ask for a better team than this.”
“It was a fun one,” said Carter. “Don’t let their record fool ya. They are a tough, tough, tough football team.”
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