Posted September 1, 2009 | comments Leave a comment

Handley tops Daily's football rankings

The Northern Virginia Daily Sports staff collaborated to create a top 10 list. Each staffer voted, with 10 points being awarded to the top ranked team, nine to the No. 2 team and so on. Numbers in parenthasis indicate first place votes.

1. Handley (3), 0-0, 0-0 Northwestern --Though the Judges have yet to play a game, the return of running back Jeremiah Wilson, a player of the year candidate, and nearly the entire offensive line give Handley the unanimous decision for the area's top team.

2. Sherando, 1-0, 0-0 Northwestern -- A last-second field goal from Justin Haines propelled the Warriors to a 24-21 victory over Park View, a team that defeated Handley last season, on Friday night in Sterling. Tailback Roger Smith, who slashed the Patriots for 184 yards, is already in football shape, and senior quarterback Corey Rice has shown he has the arm to stretch the field.

3. Clarke County, 1-0, 0-0 Bull Run -- Last year Clarke switched to the single-wing spread offense midseason because of injuries; this year Chris Parker's team is executing the offense flawlessly. A 45-0 thumping of Berkeley Springs is proof enough of that.

4. James Wood, 0-0, 0-0 Northwestern -- The Colonels graduated a lot of talent on defense -- Danny Cooper (135 tackles), Jared Broughear (9.5 sacks) and Jordan Dallmann, just to name a few -- but quarterback Trae Tinsman is one of only two returning players who ranked in the top five in passing yards last season.

5. Warren County, 1-0, 0-0 Evergreen -- In the Wildcats' season opener, Tony Tallent called a running play all but once. The result? Tailbacks Marty Haley and Gage Steele combined for 334 yards in a 27-7 win over Strasburg.

6. Millbrook, 1-0, 0-0 Northwestern -- The late heroics of Jordan Hartman, who returned a punt 65 yards to give the Pioneers a 21-14 win over Briar Woods, proved Millbrook can play in a hostile environment without the likes of graduated quarterback Andrew Oates and linebackers Calvin Rodney and Clayton Rodney.

7. Skyline, 0-0, 0-0 Northwestern -- The Hawks return tailback Cliff Woodard and promote junior quarterback Josiah Patrick to the starting spot. Unfortunately for Skyline, Central, Brentsville and Warren County, which accounted for three of Skyline's district wins last year, have left the district.

8. Central, 0-0, 0-0 Shenandoah -- Though Mike Yew's squad will compete in Group A's Shenandoah District, the Falcons will be hurting from the graduation of tight end J.J. Armentrout, who won the Daily's Athlete of the Year award.

9. Stonewall Jackson, 0-0, 0-0 Shenandoah -- Injuries hurt Stonewall Jackson early, as tailback Colton Koontz, who averaged more than 9 yards a carry last season, broke his ankle in a preseason practice.

10. Strasburg, 0-1, 0-0 Bull Run -- The Rams are young and inexperienced, and losses like the 27-7 defeat to Warren County on Friday should provide coach Mark Roller and his players with an invaluable learning experience.

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