Mclean Highlanders Winning Season Gives Hope For Future


Katie Romhilt

From the McLean Highlander: FLYING HIGH- The Highlanders celebrate their 16-7 win over the Saxons. This was McLean’s first win at Langley since 1996.

The Mclean Highlanders had a winning season this year with a record of 4-3! They even made a playoff appearance this year. Although McLean didn’t win the championship, it is still a win in the large scheme of things because it shows the major improvements the team has made as a unit this entire year. 

According to Longfellow PE teacher Eric Stokes, who is also a football coach at McLean, numerous things played a factor in this winning season.

“The players got bigger, stronger, faster, and more confident!” exclaimed Stokes.

He also mentioned the benefit of multi-sport athletes and simple experience. The team had a vast number of experienced seniors, which probably played a role in this year’s winning season. The Highlanders had a total of 21 seniors on the team this year, with a number of them making first and second team All-County, meaning they were among the top players in Fairfax.

Mr. Stokes also mentions that this year “The only difference was the amount of time spent in the weight room.”

One player in particular, Ryan Jessar, a senior, made 1st team on both sides of the ball! 

Other notable seniors include Conner Greer, who made 2nd team all county on defense, Bijon Soltani, who made 2nd team as the Highlanders quarterback, and Alec Baldwin, who made 1st team on defense.

Mclean played Langley again this year and won with a final score of 16-7. Although the score showed a close game, Mclean dominated Langley seemingly with ease. Including monster plays such as Ryan Jessar’s 30-yard run to put the Highlanders in scoring position, as well as Bijon Soltani’s 40-yard touchdown pass. If they can keep this up, Langley won’t be able to beat them for a very long time!

COVID-19 had an immense impact on the league this season. Instead of playing ten games, the Highlanders only played seven. Also, it affected how the league worked as a whole, with several extra rules in place. Socially distant sidelines may have affected some teams’ camaraderie. Having social distancing in football as a whole is quite tricky, so the league tries just to limit exposure while still playing football normally. Schools were required to basically spray everything with sanitizer to ensure everything stays clean and usable.

With luck, the rules will ease as the pandemic comes under control, and McLean can show up for another winning season. Even without this year’s seniors, new players will step up and play a big part in McLean’s next season. As Mr. Stokes said, if the new players continue to commit to the weight room, Mclean should always have the upper hand, regardless of age.