Dominion’s Vashon McCants eludes one of many defenders prior to launching a 55-yard touchdown pass. (Photo © Aaron Wyche/Viva Loudoun)
Sterling, VA (November 12, 2016) – Please join us in congratulating Dominion’s Vashon McCants as the October 2016 Performance Edge/Viva Loudoun Athlete of the Month!
“I’m very excited about this honor, it means a lot to me because the progress it took to get here,” McCants said.
The senior has played all over the field for the Titans this season, including significant time at quarterback, running back and defensive back. The versatile athlete has amassed 806 passing yards, 1,162 rushing yards, and has been responsible for 28 touchdowns on the season.
“I’m very patient and I can see the whole field, I see every little lane, every little cutback, my vision is up there,” McCants said. “Since I do have the ability to throw it down the field, that is a huge boost because the corners have to respect that.”
He was responsible for 890 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns in the month of October alone in just three games, and was named the Washington Post Player of the Week following a 236-yard and five touchdown rushing performance on Oct. 7 in the Homecoming game against Loudoun County. He also was 7-of-11 passing in that contest for another 64 yards.
“Being recognized by the Washington Post, it gives me joy, I feel happy about it, but I don’t dwell on it, I use it as my motivation to keep doing better,” McCants said.
After opening the season at running back for the Titans, he made the transition to quarterback midway through the fourth game of the season in a loss to Woodgrove on Sept. 16, which dropped the squad’s record to 2-2 early in the season. Admittedly for McCants, the nerves were running high through his system, as it was a new experience.
They determined he was a better fit under center for the remainder of the season to make sure that he had the ball in his hands on every offensive play.
McCants’ field vision and elusiveness often resulted in big plays and a frustrated defense. (Photo @ Aaron Wyche/Viva Loudoun)
Since making that decision, the Titans have won six straight games to close out the season, making McCants undefeated as the starting quarterback. Prior to this season, the 5-foot-8, 150-pound speedster had not played quarterback since the eighth grade. He did try out for the position, however, prior to the start of this season, but the coaching staff determined he was better suited to play running back at that time.
“I think I am starting to develop to be a quarterback,” McCants said. “I love to play quarterback, it puts me in a leadership role that I say I fit in pretty well.”
Following that strategic maneuver, Dominion finished the regular season with an 8-2 record, clinched the Conference 21B championship, and earned a bye in the opening round of the Virginia 4A West Playoffs.
“People thought I was just a running back playing quarterback,” McCants said, “but our running game helped us so much so that we can pass the ball, and when we do, it’s a thing a beauty, the running game helps set that up.”
McCants and the Titans have a bye in the first round of the Virginia 4A West Playoffs. (Photo © Aaron Wyche/Viva Loudoun)
In addition to McCants’ outstanding work on the offensive side of the ball, he is the strongest defensive back for the Titans as he covers the best player on the opposing team each week.
“I love playing defense, I can cover and shut down your top notch guy,” he said.
McCants is only in his second year in Sterling with the Titans after spending his first two prep years with Virginia Academy in Ashburn. He had a solid season one year ago as a running back, but he did not see any time under center.
With his newfound position and the team ending the season with six straight victories, McCants has high hopes for the upcoming playoffs. He believes the defense needs to step up and the offense just needs to keep rolling like it has been over the second half of the year.
“I just think it’s our confidence,” he said, “our vibe we got after our tough loss to Woodgrove, it switched something, it was a changing point for us, and ever since we have just been rolling and our confidence has been through the roof.”
Beyond this season, McCants hopes to continue his career at the collegiate level. Thus far, he has one scholarship offer from St. Francis in Pennsylvania and has received interest from Towson, Richmond, Norfolk State and James Madison. Despite his flexible offensive skill set, he expects to play defensive back at the next level.
Viva Loudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Josh Apple
Special to Viva Loudoun
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Viva Loudoun has teamed up with Performance Edge to recognize an outstanding Loudoun County student-athlete, and their exceptional achievements for a given month by naming a Viva Loudoun Athlete of the Month throughout the 2016-17 academic school year!
We are extremely proud to have Performance Edge on our team. Dave Mikel, CEO of Performance Edge offers exceptional competitive sports training to exceptional athletes who demand it.
The Performance Edge Mission is to prevent injury, optimize strength and power, and instill confidence and self-discipline.