FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.
Three questions: Mountain View
Coach: Lou Sorrentino (fourth season)
Last year’s record: 8-5
Last playoff season: 2012
THE WILDCATS HAVE ONE OF THE BEST RETURNING QUARTERBACKS, BEST RETURNING RUNNING BACKS AND BEST RETURNING RECEIVERS IN THE AREA. IS THIS THE MOST SETTLED THEY’VE BEEN IN THE PRESEASON UNDER SORRENTINO?
Last fall the Wildcats had to replace their quarterback. The 2011 team was replacing its running backs. The 2010 squad—Sorrentino’s first at Mountain View—had to replace its quarterback, too.
This fall, with quarterback Elijah Burress (2,081 passing yards, 22 TDs), running back Gordon Collins (1,042 yards, 13 TDs), and receiver Quinton Gray (42 catches for 628 yards), the Wildcats feature a trio of playmakers at each of the skill positions. The offensive line also has talent returning.
“Any time you have eight guys returning on offense, you’ve got a chance to be very good,” Sorrentino said. “It’s not guys we hope can do it; it’s guys that have shown they can do it. Offensively … at least on paper … we should be able to put some points on the board.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE ARE INJURIES. HOW HAS COACH SORRENTINO LEARNED TO DEAL WITH THAT SORT OF ADVERSITY?
On the eve of the Wildcats’ first preseason scrimmage this year, Sorrentino learned Burress had to have his appendix out and would be sidelined for a still-to-be-determined amount of time.
And Gray spent time on crutches, too. Mountain View has had linemen dinged up, too.
“Ten years ago, I might have gone nuts,” Sorrentino said. “Now? That’s just the nature of the beast. You’ve got who you’ve got. They’re not going to cancel the game just because this kid’s not here, or I’m not here, or you’re not here. Our attitude has to be, ‘we’re going to rally around this guy.’”
The Burress injury could have a huge impact on the Commonwealth District.
With the junior in the lineup, Mountain View looks like it’s got a potent and versatile offense. Without him, quarterback is a huge question mark, with some talented-but-inexperienced players waiting in the wings.
HAVE THE WILDCATS EVER PLAYED A TOUGHER SCHEDULE?
The VHSL realignment moved Orange and Albemarle out of the Commonwealth District—two teams which haven’t given the Wildcats much trouble (Mountain View was 2-0 against Orange and has won five straight against Albemarle).
To fill the void, Mountain View this season adds Varina (a 10-2 playoff team last year), James Monroe (the Division 3 state runner up), Lee-Davis (a 7-4 playoff team last year) and Liberty (a 7-5 playoff team last year).
“[Varina] is the toughest opener I’ve ever had,” Sorrentino said. “The Commonwealth District is good. You can be a good football team and the record might not show it.
“But let’s play; let’s go. We’ve been to the regional final two of the last three years, but both of those years we’ve been beaten pretty badly. But we’re building. We’ve just got to keep taking that next step.”