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.
STRASBURG -- To get used to what he knew was coming, Strasburg boys basketball coach Millson French went over some of the finer points of Page County's pressure defense with his team during a Saturday morning shoot-around.
When facing the Panthers later in the day, the Rams found out what their coach was talking about.
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.
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."
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.
RICHMOND -- Strasburg won its second Group A cheerleading state title in the last three years on Saturday. The Rams edged out Central for the title.
"It was a great day," Strasburg coach Anne Gorman said. "We went in feeling confident, the girls have been scoring well all season.
"I think it was one of our best performances."
STRASBURG -- Leading third-seeded Rappahannock two sets to one in the Bull Run District volleyball championship game Saturday night, top-seeded Strasburg came within an official's call of being vulnerable to getting into their fourth consecutive five-set match.
With the fourth set knotted at 23-23, and the crowd noise on both sides of the gym reverberating off the walls, an assist from senior Danika Kritter led to a Hanna Kopjanski hit that brushed the top of the net and landed in-bounds for the Panthers' apparent 24th point.
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).
STRASBURG -- Just one more point.
Moments before, Strasburg had committed its eighth attack error of the fifth set, leaving Clarke County on the cusp of a huge upset.
Clara Thiel had already scored three points off her serve for Clarke County -- including an ace -- and the senior was focused on getting the next serve over the net.
BERRYVILLE -- Grant Shaw will tell you he'd rather see his teammates score touchdowns than take the football into the end zone himself. Whether or not he's telling the truth, however, is up for debate.
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.
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.