Football’s struggles continue


Senior running back Khalil Herbert fights for additional yards after contact against Lake Braddock

The varsity football team was throttled by Lake Braddock by a score of 56-0 on Sept. 24.

The Atoms were dominated from both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, which left the players disappointed by the result.”

We weren’t ourselves on Friday, give credit to Lake Braddock, they are a great team, [they] always are,” junior wide receiver and safety Renzo Mercado said.

The Atoms fell to a 28-0 deficit very quickly at the end of the first quarter. By halftime, the score was 42-0. It seemed like the players had lost confidence at this point because the game was surely out of reach.

The Bruins were then able to coast to victory in the second half.

Their record has now fallen to 1-4, with losses to Alexandria City, Robinson, Thomas Edison, and Lake Braddock, who have now improved to a record of 3-1.

The loss to Lake Braddock marks the largest deficit defeat of the season for AHS, and the players hope to turn things around as quickly as possible.

“I would say we’re struggling to come together as a team,” junior linebacker Connor Lape said. “We just need to focus on bettering ourselves as a whole.”

After a 6-2 shortened season last year, it has been a disappointing start for the team after losing multiple senior captains on both sides of the football.

The players need to focus on their next matchup against a strong Bishop O’Connell team.

With the game being on the road against a non-conference team, the Atoms will definitely be put to the test.

The Knights started off the season 0-2, but have since improved to a record of 2-2 after winning their last two games with scores of 22-6 and 32-6, respectively.

“Our goal remains to win every game [left] and control what we can control,” junior defensive back, receiver, and backup quarterback Piero Vernazza-Cortez said.

“I believe in this team and we’re gonna keep fighting.” Vernazza-Cortez said. Cortez also played quarterback for a portion of the game against Lake Braddock in replacement of senior Gabe Bolin.

Although the first set of games have been very sluggish for the atoms, all of the players have their minds set that improvement is possible and that games can be won.

“We definitely can and will turn our season around, starting with practicing a lot harder and focusing on winning the rest of our district games,” Mercado said.

One thing that may help the Atoms is to rely a bit more on the experience of upperclassman players, who can serve as role models and aid the development of younger football players on the team.

“Being a senior on the team has led me to put an emphasis on leading by example, helping push my teammates to do better, and helping them understand plays,” senior offensive and defensive lineman Zack Pacak said.

The Atoms will want to try to replicate their impressive win against the Lewis Lancers on Sept. 10, where they won the game 42-2.

Both the offense and the defense performed well and the players must play the same way for any success later on this season.

AHS will hope to turn things around against O’Connell after practicing hard all week to clean up as many aspects as possible.

After their game against the Knights, the Atoms will continue district play against Mount Vernon, Hayfield, Falls Church, and Justice.

This four-game stretch could open up numerous opportunities for AHS. Each of these conference games are against teams with losing records currently.

Although the start of the Atoms’ schedule faced extremely tough competition, the final games of the season could consist of closer, more competitive matchups for the team.