Preview: West Potomac, Mount Vernon face tough Week 3 tests

West Potomac players celebrating

West Potomac players celebrate a touchdown during last week’s victory against Lake Braddock.

The West Potomac and Mount Vernon football teams are both unbeaten after two weeks of play, but face tough non-conference tests at home tonight. 

West Potomac, 2-0 after wins against Briar Woods and Lake Braddock, hosts Madison at 7 p.m. The Warhawks, who knocked the Wolverines out of the playoffs last season, are also unbeaten.

A little farther down Richmond Highway another unbeaten local team, Mount Vernon, will host Falls Church at 7 p.m. It’ll be the toughest early-season test for the Majors, who won easily in the first two weeks of the season. 

The two other Richmond Highway-area teams, Hayfield and Edison, are on a bye this week.

West Potomac vs. Madison

West Potomac might have one of the toughest schedules in the region. The Wolverines play seven teams who made the 6A playoffs in 2016 — including defending state champion Westfield –as well as one 5A playoff team.

So far the Wolverines have met the challenge, beating Briar Woods on the road and toppling longtime nemesis Lake Braddock last week at home. The victories have been impressive enough to earn West Po a No. 12 ranking in The Washington Post Top 20.

This week Madison, ranked 15th in the post, comes to Quander Road. The Warhawks opened the season with convincing wins over Marshall and Fairfax, but West Potomac will present a much higher level of competition. 

The Wolverines have been led on offense by senior running back Daiimon Cleveland, who is averaging five yards per carry, and senior quarterback Tanner Jones. One of Jones’ favorite targets has been senior tight end Zack Monson, who already has 14 receptions for 189 yards and three TDs on the year. 

The Warhawks running game was their strength in 2016, but this year they’ve relied on new faces after leading rusher Landon Thomas moved to Florida in the offseason. Brandon Walker and Casey Koshuta have picked up the slack in the running game, combining for 226 yards in the first two games.

Madison also has a lot of new faces on defense, returning just one starter from a unit that pitched three shutouts in 2016. 

Mount Vernon vs. Falls Church

Last year Mount Vernon shocked a lot folks by starting 2-0. This year’s 2-0 record isn’t surprising, but the manner that the Majors have moved the ball on offense has been impressive nonetheless.

Mount Vernon has put up more than 100 points in their two games, with 51 of those coming the first half of opener against Edison. Last week the Majors finished with 555 yards of total offense in their 37-18 win against Langley. Senior quarterback Tim Heltzel threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns, with sophomore running back Jordyn Reid pulling in three of the TDs.

But Falls Church poses the biggest test for Mount Vernon so far. The 1-1 Jaguars will be looking to bouce back after being beaten 42-0 last week by South Lakes, the 8th-ranked team in The Washington Post. In Week 1 Falls Church blanked Roosevelt 38-0. 

Junior running back Dakwandre Marshall will present a challenge for the rebuilt Mount Vernon defense, which struggled against the run last season. Marshall has rushed for 275 yards in two games this year after bursting onto the scene with more than 1,400 yards on the ground in 2016.

On his coach’s show on Rebel Run Sports this week, Fritts said he expects to use more of the playbook this week, including new plays installed in the offseason. 

Here’s the full episode of Fritts’ show, which features his thoughts his team’s approach to Falls Church, as well as a shoutout to the Hibachi Grill Buffet on Richmond Highway.