Will Mejia didn't experience either of the Bell Game beatings Falls Church High endured the previous two seasons. On Friday night, the sophomore took the first step toward making sure he won't in years to come, either.
Mejia rushed for a career high 109 yards on 11 carries, caught seven passes for 57-yards, threw for a score on a trick play, returned an interception for a touchdown and converted extra points after each of the Jaguars seven TDs to lead Falls Church to 49-20 win over JEB Stuart High, its first in the series since 2009.
"He's a machine. He's a fantastic young man," Falls Church head coach Said Aziz said of Mejia. "When a sophomore plays like that, he's only going to get better. We're expecting big things out of him in the future."
The Jaguars scored four touchdowns during a five-minute stretch at the end of the fourth quarter to break open a game that had been otherwise virtually deadlocked. Prior to that, Stuart's Tristan Jordan converted a fourth-and-10 when he spun away from a defender to reach the first down marker and Kevin Morgan scored from 14-yards out to pull the Raiders within a point. A blocked extra point attempt kept the score at 21-20, and it was all Falls Church after that.
Jordan Coneys returned the ensuing kickoff 77-yards for a touchdown. After a Stuart punt, Mejia caught a lateral pass on the right side of the field and found a wide open John Grey for a 43-yard score. Mejia then intercepted Mikey Bickerton for a touchdown and after another interception gave the Jaguars the ball back, Dieon DuPont ran 65-yards to find the end zone.
Mejia seemed shy answering questions after the game, but if Friday was any indication of what's to come in 2013, he may get plenty of practice.
"He doesn't say much, but the kids around him kind of guide him," Aziz said of the young back. "When you've got support in a team setting, you're going to do well."
True to form, Mejia had just this to say: "It was fun. I'm glad we got the bell back. We're just going to work hard in the offseason."
While both teams had long been eliminated from postseason consideration, the rivalry game that dates back to 1960 is always important to both teams. After losing the previous two match ups by a combined 63 points, the Jaguars had their revenge.
Falls Church had struggled to run the ball up the middle early - finishing the first quarter with just six rushing yards - but started to find success to the outside as the first half progressed. DuPont opened the scoring in the second half with a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Jaguars up 21-14.
DuPont, who finished with 166-yards on 21 carries to maintain his spot as the eighth leading rusher in the Northern Region, scored one play after ripping a 37-yard run to the Falls Church 1-yard line with 2:51 remaining in the second quarter to knot the score at 14-14.
That score ended a 14-0 run by Falls Church. Adam Daly connected with Coneys on a pass for an 8-yard score to give the Jaguars their first lead of the night shortly after, DuPont scored on a 1-yard rush to put Falls Church on the board.
Stuart took a 7-0 lead on its first drive of the game, running the ball eight straight times, capped by Morgan's 13-yard touchdown.