Fall Sports Season Wrap-Up

The 2010 fall sports campaign reflected a mixture of startling successes and tough losses.  Outstanding individual and team performances, hard-fought victories, untimely injuries, some bad breaks, and occasional heartbreaking defeats marked this season.

The Fishburne rifle team started out the 2010 season with two losses and a team average of 868 points per match.  They could have easily packed it in. With a new goal of beating HMA and FUMA to revenge their earlier losses, they rose to the challenge.  The shooters finished the season in second place with a team average of 986 points per match, improving their team average by 118 points.  A final goal of shooting 1,950 points in the State Match kept them focused on improving during each practice.  They shot 1,948 and came up short for a State title by only 8 points.

This was the most inexperienced team Coach Jim Hensley has had over the past fifteen years, with only four second year shooters and four new shooters.  Cadet Jason Montgomery, team captain, made the All-League team for the season, and Cadet Nathaniel Holt, a brand new shooter, was selected as the most improved shooter in the league and also made the All- Tournament team.  Another new shooter, Gregory Geis, finished the season as the top new shooter (standing position) in the league.

The Caisson football season began with a goal to repeat as CAFC (Capital Area Football Conference) champions and ended without a playoff berth. For the first time in 3 seasons the Caissons did not participate in post season play. Injuries and “bad bounces,” in addition to player absences for various reasons plagued the 2010 season. Three football games were lost by a total of 10 points, and ten starters were injured in the second half of the season. The Caissons lost a shoot-out with their Southern Virginia rivals, Roanoke Catholic School, by one point (31-30). In that contest, the Caissons had scored the go-ahead touchdown with 22 seconds left in the game but a questionable “Illegal procedure” call nullified the score. Starting offensive guard, defensive nose tackle, and team captain Joey Clare was a bright spot for the Caissons this season. Clare dominated his opposition on both sides of the ball until he broke his left hand in week six.  Senior quarterback J.P. Gonzales led the CAFC in passing with a 109.8 per game average, which was an unparalleled performance by a first-time conference QB and a testament to the coaching. This is the second year in a row the quarterback from Fishburne has led the CAFC in that category.  The Caissons have several returning players next season and are confident they have the will and the desire to return to once again compete for the CAFC championship.

Let’s take brief look, within historical context, of the football program.  There are no excuses; only facts:

1)  This past season, five of the eight regular season games were determined by a winning margin of 4.2 points.

2)  The coaches had to use a new QB with no prior experience, and coach up two very young backups with no experience.  This effort led to the greatest offensive output by a new starting QB within the conference.

3)  Three games we lost soundly with a shell of the team that began the season, due to injuries, illness, and individual player issues.  10 key players were out for a substantial portion of the second half of the season. In one of those games (Hyde) we were essentially even at the half before injuries, etc, caused the wheels to come off the wagon.

4)  Including the pre-season scrimmages, which were officially not scored, Fishburne either won or was within a few points in eight out of eleven games.  I would encourage anyone to find a more overall competitive season for the Fishburne football team.  Ever.

5)  Conference Runner-up in 2008, Conference Champion in 2009 for the first time in 19 years.  The last three seasons combined were the best within the past 15 years.

Congratulations to the coaches for fielding one of the most consistently competitive football teams in school history, and for making the best of a dire situation when forced to play with essentially a JV quality 2nd/3rd string team in the final games.

In my opinion, and backed up in large measure by evidence, this year’s coaching staff has done nothing less than a remarkable job under the circumstances.

The Caissons soccer team finished the season with a 3-10 record which looks like a disappointing season to those outside the team but the Caisson soccer coaches feel good about the season and I am looking forward to the future. No one likes to lose but if you look at the scores from our first five losses compared to those of our last five, you can see how much more competitive we were at the end of the season than we were at the beginning of the season. We improved as a team in spite if a few setbacks:

1. We only played 2 games with a full roster due to injuries and suspensions. These missing players included 4 team captains and three additional starters.

2. This was the first year that this team played together with coaches who had not only never coached together but never coached high school either.

3. This team only had four practices before the first game of the season. We learned to play together in a trail by fire with 12 very tough conference games and two non-conference games against rival Massanutten.

The bright spots in the season were:

1. A dramatic come from behind win on October 5th at home against Massanutten. After getting behind 2-0 in the first half and losing team captain Harold McCoo to a broken collar bone and dislocated shoulder, the Caissons powered back to a 2-2 tie early in the second half. The Colonels went up 3-2 after a penalty kick. Most teams would have folded if they had to face coming from behind, not just once, but twice. We did not give up and Massanutten had to return to Woodstock with a 5-3 loss.

2. A conference win against Roanoke Catholic. After losing the first two games of the year by large margins, I saw something big coming in the near future and it came against RCS. RCS thought this would be an easy game for them but when we went up 3-0 in the second half, RCS became overwhelmed and we came back to Fishburne with a 6-0 win.

3. We beat Massanutten twice. There was the 10-1 rout away at MMA and the 5-3 win at home.

Notes Coach Bryan Greene:  “I do not measure the success of my teams in wins and losses but with the answer to one question: Is this team better at the end of the season than it was at the beginning? The answer for the 2010 Caisson soccer team is YES!

This years version of the Caissons cross country team was led by senior captain Alex Burkard, an outstanding team captain, who was a medalist in both the Covenant and Fishburne Invitationals, and earned All-Conference Honorable Mention.  Colin Turnnidge received all-state honors with a spectacular 4th place finish in 18:01, and was also a medalist at the Covenant and STAB Invitationals.  Colin is setting his sights on becoming the state cross country champion in 2011 and he has the ability and drive to get there.  The team had a respectable performance in the state meet, finishing 16th out of 25 schools.  Senior Tim Moriconi was a team leader by example, and dropped his time over 5000 meters by a remarkable 5 minutes during the season.  Junior Travis Knapp, whom I expect to be the team captain next year, was a medalist in the Fishburne Invitational, and improved his time by over three minutes over the course of the season.  Eighth graders Lozie Goolsby and Ben Drew also decreased their times by over five minutes and demonstrated a solid work ethic throughout the season, which is particularly impressive for such young runners competing at the varsity level.  Although we will greatly miss Alex and Tim, I am optimistic we have a foundation of younger runners to build a team around in 2011.

Win or lose, I am proud of the work ethic of many of our athletes, and their dedication to their teams and Fishburne.