Twenty two seniors, a great coaching staff and a solid fan base lead the team to its best season since 2011. Senior Gabe Chumley replaced his older brother, 2018 alum Casen, as the team’s starting quarterback.
“I think we are doing well this year because we all have the intention of being the best and winning, and also we have a lot of seniors and experience,” Chumley said. “I’m feeling very comfortable in the pocket.”
Senior Ben Heflin is a key player on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
“Beating Millbrook was a big win for our program, and it got our season going in the right track,” Heflin said. “We all hold each other accountable and go into every game thinking we are the better team.”
The Cougars took down the Pioneers, 44-33, to lock in their biggest win of the regular season. The defense was led by senior Jack Kroll.
“I expected big things from this season, especially the defense,” Kroll said. “I think we’ve lived up to the hype.”
Chris Kallighan, defensive end, also played a leadership role on the team.
“I had, by far, the most sacks in my career and I was also able to have an effect offensively,” Kallighan said. “This team has played together for a while now so everyone knows each other. We have a lot of trust and a good bond that allows for a good performance.”
One of the only sophomores on the team, defensive lineman Andrew Adair, looks up to Kallighan.
“It’s been cool,” Adair said. “He has taken me under his wing, he has taught me how to be a leader, and he has helped me out a lot. It’s been rough at times, but it’s been an amazing experience.”
Senior wide receiver Shannon Ferguson had a standout season, breaking the school record for touchdowns in a regular season, including an 89 yard touchdown in the Homecoming game against Culpeper.
“It was an amazing feeling, definitely my favorite moment of the season,” Ferguson said. “The coaches have helped me get my confidence up, they have let me adopt a leadership role and guide this team in the right direction.”
This is head coach Charles Porterfield’s third season with the Cougars and he has coached the team into a playoff bid and the best season since 2011.
“A lot of it comes down to how focused the players have been,” Porterfield said. “They started the season with the idea of playing for the state championship, and they played to put themselves in a position where they can. All the credit goes to the players.”
A dedicated fan base packed the stands for every home football game. The Cage, lead by seniors Max Stevenson, Nate Shaffer, Jake Heenan and Bobby Culler felt it was important to support their team.
“I feel as if we’re the best student section in Northern Virginia,” Stevenson said.
Following tradition, Cage leaders have prepared themes for postseason games.
“When the team makes the playoffs, we plan on having lots of noise makers and great themes,” Heenan said.
The high number of students in the stands helps inspire the team.
“When the Cage shows up and is rowdy, they make the game more fun and makes the players play much harder,” Kallighan said.
“We feed off their energy,” Ferguson said. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that all your classmates are supporting you.”
Porterfield also appreciates the Cage support.
“One of the best feelings as a player is running out on the field, and seeing all your friends in the stands,” Porterfield said. “They are the driving force behind our success. When they come out, and show their KR spirit there isn’t a better student section in the land.”