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.
WINCHESTER -- The Sherando High School wrestling team put itself in contention for a top-three finish after Wednesday's first round of the Willie Walters/Jaye Copp Holiday Tournament.
The Warriors placed an area-best five wrestlers in today's championship semifinal round of the two-day, 16-team, bracket tournament at James Wood High School.
Stafford leads with 84 team points. Rounding out the top five are Potomac Falls (77), Sherando (67), Stonewall Jackson (Manassas) (66), and Turner Ashby (64). Of the remaining three area schools, James Wood is eighth (53), Skyline 13th (35), and Handley 14th (33).
STEPHENS CITY -- Dominique Porter had one of the best seats in Sherando's gymnasium for the start of Tuesday night's nondistrict boys basketball game with Musselman (W.Va.).
His brother, Tre, and buddies Jalen Brisco, Jalen Harris, and Terry Wood had pretty much the same vantage point, as well.
STEPHENS CITY -- Erin Drumheller sauntered to center court at Sherando High School for only her fourth game adorned in Sherando's scarlet garb, and her palms were wet with nervous perspiration.
She said she felt jumpy. She said she felt a lot like a freshman again.
THE PLAINS -- Fifty yards from the finish line, Kayla Gibbons collapsed.
Her knees buckled, sending her straight to the ground in pain. She was so close, yet with her body completely exhausted, the end of the race seemed miles away.
STEPHENS CITY -- Megan Sirbaugh couldn't have known her own potential.
Not when she was 4 years old, bumping volleyballs with her younger sister, Morgan, at her mother's club volleyball tournaments.
Megan Sirbaugh couldn't have known her potential even in the sixth grade, when she played parks and recreation volleyball, the first time she'd ever played organized volleyball.
STEPHENS CITY -- On paper, Sherando's 28-0 victory over Skyline on Friday night might appear to have been an easy win for the Warriors, but it was anything but that. The Hawks' defense kept Sherando in check offensively for most of the first three quarters of the game, leaving the door open for a Skyline upset.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, the Warriors' powerful offensive line, and the insertion of tailback Tre Porter spelled doom for Skyline.
BEALETON -- Sherando wide receiver Dominique Porter stood on the sideline, the Friday night lights dancing on the red and yellow and green turf field at Liberty High School.
Porter yelled to his brother, Tre, who stood 20 yards deeper than the rest of the Sherando defense, the eyeshield of his helmet glistening. Warriors quarterback Jalen Brisco yelled to Tre Porter, too. The offense, for four quarters, had done its part, giving Sherando a three-point lead over undefeated Liberty in the game's fading minutes.
Time for the defense to finish what the offense started.
WINCHESTER -- Whatever it takes.
That's been Handley's team motto all season. On Saturday it took a whole lot. It took overcoming four turnovers, two successful Sherando on-side kicks, and a tired defense on the field for three-straight possessions in the fourth quarter.
WINCHESTER -- Trying to catch up to Kayla Gibbons isn't easy. In just her second season at Warren County, the sophomore has established herself as the top runner for the Wildcats and one of the fastest runners in the area.
FRONT ROYAL -- With one swing of the putter, two sets of eyes began to well up.
As the ball sailed just past the hole, Cory Hammons, the man responsible for the shot, knew he had fallen, that the shot he needed to continue the playoff hadn't gone in.
WINCHESTER -- Sherando, to be sure, had been looking forward to Tuesday night with a growing enthusiasm.
James Wood had, too.
And now the match between the Northwestern District rivals is over, finished, kaput -- Sherando waltzed into Donald H. Shirley Gymnasium sporting camouflage warm-ups and fluffs of red hair, then walked out with a 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-14) win.
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.
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Ross Metheny waited patiently Saturday.
He put on his helmet and waited some more as VMI completed a first down midway through the third quarter. Finally Virginia stopped VMI and forced a punt.
STEPHENS CITY -- Joseph Ojo did it again. In a 59-20 stomping of Jefferson County, the Sherando tailback rushed for 218 yards and four touchdowns. He gained another 18 yards receiving and another 17 yards on a kick return.
STEPHENS CITY -- A funny thing happens to a team in the year following a district championship season: Local spectators provide the team with a list of clichés meant to describe its particular situation.
LEESBURG -- Joseph Ojo had no doubt he was going to get the ball into the end zone. Facing a third-and-goal from the Loudoun County 2-yard line with a little over two minutes left in the game, the Sherando junior running back followed the offensive line and burst into the end zone to give Sherando a 21-14 win over the Raiders on Thursday night.