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.
STRASBURG -- Sometimes you've just got to respect your opponent a little better.
At least that was the feeling Strasburg boys basketball coach Millson French had Friday night after his Rams had to fight off a Stonewall Jackson team that has gone two years since it last won a game.
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.
LURAY -- It started so promising. Stonewall Jackson had rallied in the first set, taking full advantage of its "underdog" role to push second-seeded Luray to match point. To cap things off, sophomore Taylor Koontz's final serve crashed onto the Bulldogs' side of the court for an ace, the perfect ending to what started as a dream scenario for the Generals as they took the first set.
QUICKSBURG -- Riverheads continued its dominance of the Shenandoah District as the Gladiators dismantled Stonewall Jackson, 42-3, on Friday night.
Riverheads dominated every phase of the game in the first half. The offense ran for 263 yards while the defense limited the Generals to 43 total yards. Stonewall Jackson ran 25 plays in the first two quarters with 11 resulting in negative yardage. Riverheads scored on its first two possessions to lead 14-0 lead after one quarter.
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.
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.
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.
STRASBURG -- Shawn Owens had a premonition on Friday night.
The Strasburg sophomore defensive back had a feeling the ball was coming his way in the closing seconds of the Rams' home football matchup against cross-county rival Stonewall Jackson, a feeling that developed into a certainty as he spied Generals quarterback John-Michael Pirtle rolling out of the pocket toward the right sideline.
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.