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Falcons win again, edge Millbrook 21-14

Saturday, Sep. 22 | By Ross Wilkers
Fauquier's Leif Heltzel leaps above Millbrook's DJ Frisby and pulls in a pass with one hand Friday. --Times-Democrat Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Take the first three letters of Winchester, and one would find apt description for the Fauquier Falcons during the past two weeks.

After going there to the Handley Bowl last week and coming away with a 20-point win over John Handley, they came back home to face a Millbrook team on a three-game winning streak.

At Falcon Field Friday night, the home side had to “gut it out,” as Fauquier head coach Jamie Carter put it after the game, but still earned the reward of victory by a 21-14 margin.

The other rewards for the Falcons: a 4-1 record and a bye week before facing Brentsville in the homecoming game.

With the score 14-all and a little more than 4 minutes left in the final quarter, the Falcons went for it on 4th-and-6 at Millbrook's 33-yard line.

Quarterback Colin Diehl, facing a Pioneers team throwing blitzes at him all night, found an open Leif Heltzel open on an inside route and Heltzel burst through the defense to put Fauquier's nose in front.

“I saw they had man coverage on Leif, and he broke it for the touchdown,” Diehl said.

Millbrook's Logan Rodeffer nearly put away that enthusiasm on the kickoff return as he had wide open space through the midfield, but Fauquier's Louis Heisler brought Rodeffer down at his own 45-yard line in a touchdown-saving tackle.

On Millbrook's tenth play of the ensuing drive, a 4th-and-16 at Fauquier's 40-yard line, the Pioneers decided to rolled the dice and go for it but the pass fell incomplete.

The Pioneers got the ball back with 1:35 left, but Fauquier junior Derrell Mullins intercepted a jump ball at his team's 37-yard line to clinch the win at the 1:03 mark.

During the Millbrook possession before that, Mullins knocked away two passes that surely would have been first downs or maybe much more.

“We were preparing for a lot of go routes,” Mullins said. “Coach said 'don't fall asleep on the run, the pass will come.'”

Fauquier took a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the game, gained by a Spencer Yates fumble recovery at Millbrook's 32-yard line, when Diehl snuck through the defense out of the shotgun for an 11-yard touchdown run.

Millbrook quarterback Justin Neff scored on his own quarterback-keeper, a 29-yard touchdown-run with 4:23 left in the first quarter to tie the game 7-7.

Three minutes later, Millbrook junior Devon Sharp intercepted a Diehl pass that bounced off a defender and then off a receiver, returning it to the 28-yard line and a Fauquier face mask infraction moved the ball to the 14-yard line.

The next play, Neff connected with senior wideout T.J. Bruce on the outside for a 14-yard touchdown reception, making it 14-7.

Midway through the second, the Falcons capped a nearly five-minute, 69-yard drive via Dominic Heisler, who ran through a defensive pile at the goal-line for a 15-yard touchdown.

Millbrook came close to taking a 7-point lead into halftime but Heltzel saved the tie by intercepting a floating pass, returning it to midfield.

“That's a big time player making a big time play,” Carter said of the interception.

That was just a preview of things to come for Heltzel, who later provided the game-winning moment for Fauquier to savor.
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