“I told you so.” That’s what Falls Church football coach Said Aziz feels like telling everybody these days. Going into this season, he told reporters he had a good feeling about a group that was bringing everybody back from last year, including a strong senior class that has been playing together since 10th grade.
Sure enough, the Jaguars — a perennial doormat in the National District — flipped the script this fall, going from 3-7 in 2012 to 7-3 in 2013. Last Friday’s 24-23 win over Albemarle not only took them to 8-3, it also handed Falls Church its first playoff victory since 1976.
The Jaguars are getting it done behind the athleticism of senior tailback Dieon Dupont, who has compiled 1,001 rushing yards, 425 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns through 10 games (an injury kept him out of one game). Senior quarterback Adam Daly lends versatility to the offense with his ability to beat defenses through the air — he currently stands as the area’s third leading passer with 2,296 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Senior receiver Jordan Coneys has accounted for 1,027 of those yards and 10 of those touchdowns.
Daly threw for a season-high 331 yards last week against Albemarle, which fell into the familiar trap of keying on Dupont and thus opening the door for Daly’s other targets. Offensive coordinator Ryan Healy has done a nice job of avoiding predictability by spreading out the attack this season.
Healy and Aziz don’t think this is a one-and-done bunch. They see another promising senior class coming back next year, and hopefully more to come down the line.
“I think our coaching staff is just hoping that this raises the bar for the years to come,” Aziz said. “Wherever this season may end, we want the next [senior] class to say, ‘Hey, we want to go here also. We want to get further.’ It gives a small school like ours hope that hard work and a good coaching staff will always result in success.”
One thing Falls Church seemed to benefit from this season was the introduction of its new turf field. The Jaguars never lost on that surface, completing its home slate with a 6-0 record.
But this week they’ll have to hit the road for the second week in a row, this time to Fredericksburg to take on the 5A North Region’s No. 1 seed, Massaponax.
“Our goal is to win the state championship,” Aziz said. “Why not us? We’ve beaten some good teams, and the teams that we’ve lost to are playoff teams also. We’ve told our kids that right now the teams that want it the most and the ones who make the least mistakes are the ones that are going to win.”