The Roar

Friday Night Lightning: the Battle of Sterling

In the first official Battle of Sterling, varsity boys defeat Dominion despite a lightning delay

The Battle of Sterling, between Potomac Falls and Dominion, ended in a win for Potomac Falls, and bragging rights until the next time they face the Titans. Not even the scattered rain showers leading up to the kickoff of the game could dim the pit’s spirit. They were ready to beat the Titans on their own turf.

The Battle of Sterling was a unique game. Because of the lightning delay, the Panthers were forced to put their 21-13 lead on pause until the next day, at 10 a.m. The delay of the game until the next day was unfortunate for both teams and their coaching staffs; the boys wanted to finish the game that night.

With eight minutes and eight seconds left in the third quarter, the game was suspended due to lightning. PFHS Athletics tweeted, “Potomac Falls had the ball on their own 28 yard line facing the scoreboard. Third down and three yards to gain. Both teams have three timeouts remaining.”

“On Friday night I could definitely feel more energy in the crowd, which adds a whole new aspect to the game. [On] Saturday, we came in at seven a.m. after playing a game the night before, so everyone was sore and everyone was tired, so it came down to having the mental discipline in order to keep the same energy from the night before and finish what we started,” said tight end and linebacker Jack Pooley.

Despite the setback, the Panthers were still able to complete their unfinished business and beat the Titans 34-13.

Thanks to wide receiver and defensive backer Jalen Cocker and Pooley, the Panthers were able to secure a lead throughout the game. Coker had one touchdown and Pooley had three.

“Leading up to the game, the whole team knew what we were going into, so every practice was all about going full speed and physically and mentally preparing for Friday night through walk-throughs, best on best scrimmages, film sessions, and daily competitions in practice. There was definitely a different energy that week building up to the game, we knew we had to come out and practice 100 percent every day in order to win Friday,” said Pooley.

Making a name for himself early in the season, Coker made a big difference for the Panthers during their biggest face off of the season.

“I was a little nervous, but as soon as the game started, all the nerves went away. It was a big game with a lot of fans, so I knew I needed to show out,” said Coker.

Currently experiencing his fourth and last season of panther football, Pooley is, and has been, a key component to the Panthers success.

“It felt great [beating Dominion], everybody here knows what this rivalry means. Coach Jackson even talked about what it meant way back when he played here so to beat Dominion, especially it being my senior, really set a sense of accomplishment within me for both the team and the community,” said Pooley.

No nerves or excitement could distract these two boys from their one goal, winning.

“[Beating] Dominion was great, and I’m glad I was a part of it. We have a great group of guys and I am really looking forward to continuing the rest of the year with them,” said Coker.

This new tradition, the Battle of Sterling, brought great energy and spirit to the Panther football stadium that we are hoping to carry on for the rest of the season. The Panthers play at Riverside this Friday, Sep. 7, at six p.m. Come out and support the Panthers as they hope to build off their last win and spark a win streak.

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