Heisler, Jordan star in Falcons’ 31-9 win over Millbrook
Leif Heltzel and the Fauquier Falcons beat Millbrook, 31-9, Friday. --Photo by Adam Goings
The Fauquier Falcons thought they were getting a patsy.
At least they still won.
Trailing 9-0 late in the second quarter against winless Millbrook, the Falcons finally found their stride by putting up the last 31 points of the game in a 31-9 win in Winchester.
Led by the explosive running of Todd Jordan, who ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and a career game from quarterback Louis Heisler, Fauquier improved to 2-2 heading into Friday’s Homecoming game at Falcon Field.
Coming off a 45-21 drubbing by Handley on Sept. 13, a loss to Millbrook (0-4) would have been devastating. Instead, the Falcons recaptured their mojo with a lockdown defensive effort, and displayed a lively offense.
“We came out strong the second half. The first half we played like dogs,” said defensive lineman Donovan Porter.
Most importantly, a switch may have gone off for new QB Heisler, who played with the confidence, athleticism and success reminiscent of two-year starter Colin Diehl, who graduated earlier this year.
Heisler completed 13 of 18 passes for 154 yards and scored on a 19-yard touchdown run – making it simply the finest performance of his brief four-game QB career. He looked polished and comfortable executing the offense, even if it took a half to get for the Falcons to dent the end zone.
“It was by far his most proficient performance. He’s still learning the QB position. He’s getting better every week,” said coach Jamie Carter.
The Fauquier offense has been under pressure to produce touchdowns this year, and for a half they couldn’t do it. Twice the Falcons got inside the Millbrook 5-yard line in the first half, and both times they were turned away without six points.
Heisler said he thought the Falcons got a little conservative in the first half when they got near Millbrook’s goal line. “We should pass more in the end zone,” he said.
The Falcons did try one pass from the Millbrook 4, and Heisler blamed himself for missing on a pass to Spicer Sabruno. “I should have hit Leif Heltzel,” he said, indicating he made a bad read.
Other first half frustration included a Millbrook safety, recorded when Sabruno slipped in the end zone after taking the ball from Heisler. That gave Millbrook a 2-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Then, after Millbrook received the ball following the safety, the Pioneers drove into the FHS end zone on seven plays, thanks in part to a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty by the Falcons.
Millbrook took its 9-0 lead when quarterback Mark Paxton hit receiver Conner Faint on a 12-yard TD pass with 9:10 left in the second quarter.
Fauquier also had two field goal attempts blocked and missed another in the first half, although D.J. Helkowski did convert from 21 yards, cutting Fauquier’s deficit to 9-3 with 5:15 left in the second quarter.
The second half saw the Falcons completely dominate -- and enjoy it thoroughly.
“We came out fired up. We wanted to do the job, and get the fire going,” said Heisler.
Fauquier took the opening kickoff and drove 71 yards in nine plays, with Briar Thomas scoring on a 3-yard TD run. Helkowski’s kick gave FHS its first lead of the game at 10-9.
Thomas then picked off a Paxton pass at the Millbrook 23 and ran to the 11 to set up another FHS touchdown. Jordan ran seven yards for a TD as the Falcons took a 17-9 lead.
“I saw the QB look me off. I stayed in my zone and he threw it to me just like the coaches told me he would,” said Thomas of his big play made from his outside linebacker position.
Fauquier made it 24-9 on Jordan’s 35-yard TD run with 3:31 left in the third quarter and 31-9 on Heisler’s 19-yard TD scamper with 4:49 left in the fourth.
“In the first half we played like we were dead. In the second half we played with more heart and excitement,” said Carter, heartened to see the offense wake up.
“The thing is with our defense we don’t need to light up the scoreboard. We’re not expecting shootouts. The strategy is to score enough to win. We’ve done it twice. Twice we have not,” he said.
The postgame scene saw the Falcons joking and feeling good about themselves as they took off their uniforms outside on a balmy night, and coach Carter running back onto the football field to play with his two young sons.
“It was a big boost for Homecoming and James Wood,” said Thomas of next Friday’s matchup.
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