Falcons, Eagles brace for Friday’s Bird Bowl tussle in Bealeton
Sunday, Nov. 3
It began in 1994 as a football game between the new school (Liberty), and Fauquier High.
It was dubbed "Battle of the Birds" by the Fauquier Times-Democrat, which provided a pewter trophy.
Fauquier won the first two Bird Bowls before Liberty broke through in 1996.
Since then, it's been mostly the new school winning.
As Liberty and Fauquier prepare for their 20th Bird Bowl meeting Friday at Eagle Stadium, a familiar scenario is unfolding.
After a poor start, Liberty, which leads the Bird Bowl series 15-4 and won 10 Bird Bowls in a row, appears to be the favorite to win its 11th straight Bird Bowl over the Falcons.
Although Liberty started 1-4 this year, the Eagles have assumed favored status over Fauquier yet again after Friday's heroic 28-26 come-from-behind win over Kettle Run. Headed for a near certain defeat, trailing 26-14 midway through the fourth quarter, the Eagles drove though the vaunted Kettle Run defense for two impressive touchdowns.
Liberty (5-4) has emerged the Evergreen District's top team. The first place Eagles are 4-0, leading Kettle Run (3-1) and Eastern View (3-1), followed by fourth place Fauquier, which is 2-2. While Liberty defeated Eastern View and Kettle Run, Fauquier lost to both in close games.
That said, Fauquier (5-4) might be in great shape to win this year with their great defense, prolonged frustration and excellent camaraderie. Fauquier's last Bird Bowl win came in 2002 and its last win over Liberty came in 2007 in a non-Bird Bowl matchup.
Despite Liberty's scintillating play of late, the teams are relatively even.
“It’s the hardest game of the whole year no matter what the records are. We haven’t won in 10 years so we have to play the best we can,” said Falcon receiver Leif Heltzel.
“We have been looking forward to this forever,” added Falcon running back Todd Jordan. “Losing last year did not feel good, I am pretty sure everyone cried in the locker room after.”
Even with their poor history against their archrival, the Falcons remain confident that this year will provide a different outcome.
“I think we are where we need to be to beat Liberty, we are on a roll,” said FHS junior Zach Evans. “We are excited to get after them again.”
“I know that we will need to hustle and put in the work this week,” added Jordan. “We can beat them we just need to put in the effort.”
“I can’t even begin to explain how big it would be if we come away with a victory. Everyone would be ecstatic,” said Heisler. “That’s all anyone of us has dreamt of since freshman year, to beat Liberty in the Bird Bowl.”
With a new Bird Bowl trophy on the line, FHS hopes to break their decade long losing streak and come away with the victory.
“They retired the last trophy, but we are gonna try and retire this next one,” said Heltzel.
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