Battle of Sterling Recap


Photo by: Abby Detorie

The varsity boys football team beat Dominion and kept their title as Kings of Sterling

The Thursday night heat didn’t stop Potomac Falls from showing up and out for the second annual Battle of Sterling on Aug. 30. Panthers flooded the stadium in a sea of black to cheer on the varsity boys as they defended their crown against Dominion, and with hopes of remaining the Kings of Sterling another year. 

Kicking off the night, the Student Council Association (SCA) sponsored a tailgate in front of school; allowing students and faculty to participate in games and spirited activities before the start of the game. “Some people wanted to increase the spirit for the game,” said SCA President Lilliana Quinones. “So from the first day of school that’s what the majority of our focus has been on.” The SCA was able to bring together the tailgate in one week by splitting into designated planning committees. 

The tailgate was focused on preparing students for the game, and for junior Jeffrey Arriola, it did just that. “It gets the crowd going,” said Arriola. “And [it] gets them hyped and pumped up for the game.” 

The game started with a bang when wide receiver and safety Jalen Coker made the first touchdown five minutes and 22 seconds into the first quarter. “The strategy going into the game against Dominion was that we needed to play fast,” said Coker. Coker believed that the key to beating Dominion was by playing together as a team.

The early lead radiated energy through the student section, and the Pit filled with cheers, silly string, and garbage cans in celebration of the team down below. Freshman Ani Dykes saw first hand how the energy of the students impacted the boys on the field. “… They are feeding off of our energy,” said Dykes. “If we have a really good energy then they are gonna play well.” Dykes felt a sense of importance while cheering on the team from the pit for the first time. 

The Panthers hit with even more force in the second quarter with a touchdown by linebacker Will Misch, and a two point conversion with two minutes and two seconds left on the clock. The third touchdown of the night by running-back and wide receiver Will Jencks brought the score to 21-0 by the end of the first half.

At halftime, the Potomac Falls Marching Band debuted their new show, “A Night at the Ballet”, under the orange and pink sky. First year drum major, Abigail Duke, believed the band’s performance went especially well their first show of the season. Duke felt nervous conducting a performance for the first time, but, “felt much better because everyone looked so ready to perform.” Duke believes there is still improvements to be done on the show, but knows the band will work hard and have a strong season.

The second half of the game was filled by multiple offensive attacks at the hands of the Panthers. Jencks caught a ball tipped off Coker for the first touchdown of the third quarter.  A two point conversion was attempted but was no good; making the score 27-0 with 10 minutes and 38 seconds left in the 3rd quarter. Jenks made another attempt at the end zone, but was called back due to a block in the back. Misch made the final touchdown of the night; ending the night with a final score of 33-0.

Although the team was met with victory, obstacles were thrown in the way of the Panthers during their battle on the field. Quarterback Leo Burns suffered from a concussion in the first quarter, and had to be taken out of the game. Backup quarterback, Matthew Graham came into play and led the panthers through the end of the night. “He really stepped up and showed out,” said linebacker Alexander Bates. Bates believes the quick quarterback change was one of the highlights of the night.  

Burns believes the win will set the tone for the team, and bring the “energy” as they prepare for the next game against Tuscarora High School. The Hawaiian themed game will be held at home on Sept. 6.