You go to enough football camps and talk to enough football coaches, and sooner or later you'll hear all about players' "heads swimming" as they learn a new offense or defense, shift over to a new position, move up a level of competition or join a new program.
QUICKSBURG -- As the first half slipped under two minutes Thursday night, Stonewall Jackson guard Russell Hill pulled up just shy of the foul line and drained a jumper.
The Generals were jumping for joy, cutting Shenandoah District rival Central's lead to five points with the made basket.
Then came the whistle: One of Stonewall Jackson's players had held the ball a tad too long after it ended flight through the hoop, and the perceived delay resulted in a technical foul called against the Generals.
QUICKSBURG -- For 13 minutes Thursday, Stonewall Jackson looked like a team on its way to a stunning upset of Central in girls basketball. The Generals were beating the undefeated Falcons press with ease and scoring at will.
But with 3:42 left in the second quarter, everything changed. Central exploded for an 18-0 run that left Stonewall Jackson (1-7) gasping for air. After that, the Falcons had no trouble dominating the Generals and eventually winning easily 67-52.
FRONT ROYAL -- Most of the game was dead even, but Warren County took over in overtime on Saturday.
The Wildcats used clutch foul shooting to pull away with a 70-62 non-district boys basketball overtime win over Central.
STRASBURG -- Central extended its early season winning streak to three Tuesday night by defeating Shenandoah County rival Strasburg 45-33, but it wasn't pretty at times as the teams' defenses dominated play.
"We're very happy with the way we played on defense," Central coach Stephanie Mathews said. "On offense, I thought that we were impatient. We need to learn to be more patient and wait for a good shot."
FRONT ROYAL -- Both host Warren County and Central looked to start off their girls basketball season in the win column on Wednesday night, but only one could prevail.
In the end, the more experienced Falcons were able to pull together and notch a victory as they held off the Wildcats, 61-33.
THE PLAINS -- Katlyn Ayers doesn't like it when an opponent is close behind.
For some runners, having somebody on their heels might serve as motivation to keep pushing harder and harder, but that doesn't work for Ayers. If it were up to the Strasburg junior, her closest opponent would be plenty of distance away.
So when George Mason's Julia Estrada started to close in on Ayers, who held the lead in the Group A state cross country championships with less than 100 yards to go, Ayers knew she couldn't let her cushion slip away.
ELKTON -- Strasburg won the Region B cheerleading title on Saturday at East Rockingham High School.
The Rams finished with 230 points, followed by Manassas Park (226), Central (221.5) and East Rockingham (206.5).
ELKTON -- Momentum can be a fickle thing in volleyball. Central found that out the hard way Monday night.
Just when the Falcons thought they had momentum, it quickly disappeared in a 3-1 (25-15, 22-25, 25-17, 25-23) loss to East Rockingham in the Shenandoah District tournament quarterfinals.
WOODSTOCK -- One year ago, Central suffered a heartbreaking loss at Buffalo Gap, allowing 28 points while managing just 6. The loss was devastating to the Falcons' playoff hopes at the time, culminating with the defeat that kept Central sitting at home during the postseason. It was the kind of blowout that's not easy to forget, the one that sticks with a team for 12 months until they have a chance at redemption.
On Friday night, the Falcons got their shot at redemption and behind quarterback Matt Sherfey and wide receiver Sean Semones, they didn't miss. Sherfey threw for 279 yards, 176 to Semones, as Central celebrated homecoming night with a 35-7 win over Buffalo Gap.
NEW MARKET -- Central's Brandon Poff finished first and led the Falcons to the boys team championship. Luray's Deanna Teter was the fastest girl and Page County took the girls team top spot in the Shenandoah District cross country meet Wednesday afternoon at the 5K/3.1 mile New Market Battlefield Park course.
WOODSTOCK --The Page County Panthers took some of the air out of the Central Falcons' Senior Night celebration balloons, with a 3-2 (25-18, 24-26, 25-10, 17-25, 15-10) Shenandoah District volleyball win Tuesday night.
The Falcons recovered from a monumental 17-8 deficit in the second set, and recovered from a 25-10 third set thrashing to win the fourth set, and played to a 10-10 tie before losing the decisive fifth set.
STAUNTON -- Central won its second consecutive Shenandoah District competition cheerleading title on Saturday.
The Falcons had 240 points in the first round of competition, and 241 points in the second round to win the crown. Page County finished second, and Buffalo Gap was third. Stonewall Jackson finished sixth.
GREENVILLE -- The Riverheads Gladiators dominated the first half, taking a 28-0 lead, en route to a 42-12 victory over Central in Shenandoah District action Friday.
The Gladiators ripped through the Falcons' defense for 323 first-half yards, while the Riverheads' defense held Central to just 33 yards on 17 plays.
WOODSTOCK -- Central hosted the Shenandoah County cross country meet Saturday morning at the 3.0 mile Wetzel Farm course off North Street.
Strasburg junior Katlyn Ayers took first place and led the Rams to the girls title.
Central junior Brandon Poff finished first among the boys, leading the Falcons to the boys top spot.
QUICKSBURG -- When talking about Central's offensive attack, Matt Sherfey's arm seems to get all the credit.
Not that it shouldn't, mind you. With 168 yards and two touchdowns in Friday's 24-8 win over Stonewall Jackson, the Falcons senior certainly showed why his throwing skills steal the headlines.
FALLS CHURCH -- Central coach Mike Yew has a theory pertaining to punt returns: Once the ball takes its first bounce, players tend to let up.
And in the first quarter of Central's football game at George Mason on Friday night, Yew's theory proved true.
The Northern Virginia Daily Sports staff collaborated to create a football 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 parenthesis indicate where each team was last week.