Mount Vernon quarterback Fonnae Webb scores one of his three touchdowns against West Potomac (Richard Maple photo)
With the regular season finale nearing a close, raindrops falling with increased regularity and the outcome all but decided, West Potomac, backed up near its goal line, fumbled a shotgun snap into the end zone.
Mount Vernon sophomore Bradford Oheneba Chei arrived first, tackling the Wolverine quarterback and allowing teammate — and brother — Bradley Oheneba Chei to jump on the loose ball for a touchdown.
For the Wolverines, it was a fitting end to a season filled with injury and disappointment. For the Majors, it was one more reason to celebrate during a dominant, decade-long streak-busting performance.
The Majors blew out the Wolverines 47-7 on Friday at Mount Vernon, giving the program is first victory over West Potomac since 2006 and placing another feather in the coaching cap of Monty Fritts.
The Majors have set more than 30 school records in three seasons under Fritts, he said, and on Friday the Mount Vernon head coach helped the program earn bragging rights over its Route 1 rival.
“It makes me think of [Michael] Skinner, who was the principal here for a long time,” Fritts said. “He passed away about a year and half ago. He was the first person to call me when I got the job and his thing was, ‘I don’t care what you do, just beat West Potomac.’ It means a lot to me. I think about him. You can see how hyped the kids are. We were really excited about beating [T.C. Williams] last week, but it’s just a different level for us to beast West Po because most of our kids have not beaten them since they’ve been in high school at almost anything, so to win tonight is a huge win.”
Next up for Mount Vernon (8-2) is a Region 6C playoff matchup against Gunston District foe Hayfield (9-1). The Hawks won the regular season meeting between the teams, 34-18 on Oct. 5, and later captured the district championship. Hayfield, the No. 3 seed in the region, will host No. 6 Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon has qualified for the playoffs in all three seasons under Fritts — just the second time in program history that the Majors reached the playoffs in three straight seasons. The Majors enter the playoffs riding high after beating T.C. Williams 32-25 in overtime on Oct. 27 — a victory Fritts said gave the Majors “our swagger back” — and knocking off the Wolverines.
“It feels great,” Mount Vernon senior center Jaime Reyes said. “… [T]hey would come and beat us, start talking, but this year it feels good since we beat them.”
The Majors also enter the postseason healthy. Reyes returned Friday after a four-game absence due to a broken right hand, but he has successfully started snapping with his left. Junior quarterback Fonnae Webb has been battling ankle injuries. Webb described himself at “60 percent” following Friday’s game, but he was nimble enough to rush for 105 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior running back Jordyn Reid, who Fritts said is “probably our best player,” is also back near full strength. On Friday, Reid caught a 64-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second half.
“If we’re going to lose, we’re going to lose at full strength,” Fritts said. “It’s not like the last two years where we lost and we were like, ‘But if we would have had him.’ We can’t do that this year.”
Mount Vernon kicker Samuel Renzi was 2-3 on field goals against West Potomac, including a 47-yarder. (Richard Maple photo)
While Mount Vernon won big on Saturday, it was West Potomac that came out strong.
The Wolverines (2-8), operating out of the run-heavy single-wing offense due to the loss of starting quarterback J.T. Mayo to injury on Sept. 28, opened the game with a nine-play, 77-yard drive, capped by a 46-yard touchdown run by Richard Kobiah.
West Potomac’s Richard Kobiah scored the game’s first touchdown on a 47-yard run. (Richard Maple photo)
However, the Mount Vernon defense stuffed West Potomac for the remainder of the contest, forcing five turnovers, including end zone fumble recoveries for touchdowns by Chei and senior lineman Mike Hood.
While the defense stood strong, Webb took care of the offense for the Majors. He completed 5 of 11 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown, and his 24-yard scamper gave Mount Vernon a 34-7 advantage with 9:33 remaining in the third quarter.
“Fonnae drives me crazy,” Fritts said. “The thing that he can do is extend plays. If we get in trouble, just his ability to extend plays … saves us in some situations.”
Webb showed off his scrambling abilities on a third quarter play that was wiped out by penalty. The signal caller rolled to his right but couldn’t find an open receiver. He then worked his way back to the left and, with the help of two crushing blocks, picked up nearly 20 yards that wouldn’t count.
“I just trusted my line,” Webb said, “and let them do what they did.”
Junior quarterback Fonnae Webb had 20 rushing touchdown during the regular season.
Mount Vernon kicker Sam Renzi made a pair of field goals, including a 47-yarder at the end of the first half that had plenty of distance and gave the Majors a 20-7 advantage. He also connected from 34 yards.
While Mount Vernon enters the playoffs for the third straight season, West Potomac will be watching from home for the second straight year. The Wolverines started the campaign 2-2, but quarterback Mayo was lost for the season after he suffered a third-degree separation of his throwing (right) shoulder in their fifth game against Centreville.
“He was the heart and soul of our team,” West Potomac head coach Jeremiah Ross said. “Him going down, it hurt. … He’s a kid that everybody believed in. … [If] J.T. is on the field, we can win.”
Ross estimated with injuries and disciplinary action, West Potomac was down roughly 20 players by the end of the season.
The Wolverines struggled against a schedule that included the top three seeds in the 6D region (three-time defending state champion Westfield (10-0), Centreville (8-2), Madison (8-2) and the No. 5 seed in 6C, Lake Braddock (7-3).
“We got beat up,” Ross said. “… By the end of the year, we were a shell of what we were at the beginning. The schedule beat us to all heck. It was rough.”
The future is potentially bright for West Potomac as the team is expected to return some key playmakers and add players from an 8-0 freshman team and a 5-3 JV group.
“The talent is there,” Ross said. “We have to stay healthy.”
While West Potomac looks to the future, Mount Vernon is in search of a playoff win this coming weekend. The Majors suffered first-round losses each of the last two seasons.