That’s the only way to describe the way the Rappahannock County High School Scholastic Bowl team felt Monday night at Clarke County.
“We had our chances. It was a difference of two questions,” Panthers head coach David Naser said, after Manassas Park stopped Rappahannock County, 225-205, in the second of two matches. “I personally think that maybe this can be a wake-up call to our team.”
Rappahannock County came out of the directed round with a 155-145 lead over the Cougars. But some mistakes, including a mispronunciation of a current politician’s name and giving too much information on a poetry question, allowed Manassas Park to rally to take the lead and eventually, gain the win.
“I expected the match with Manassas Park to be close,” Rappahannock County senior captain Malcolm Perry added. “A few mistakes here and there. Some on my part. It gets really tense especially when you begin to doubt yourself.”
Freshman Danny Collins agreed.
“I think we could have gotten some questions that we didn’t get. There were some history-related questions we didn’t get,” he added. “We didn’t beat them to the buzzer.”
The loss leaves the Panthers in third place in the Bull Run District behind defending Group A state champion George Mason (5-0) and Manassas Park (4-1).
Rappahannock County, which opened the night with a 260-160 win over Strasburg, is now 3-2. It will travel Monday night to Manassas Park to face George Mason, Clarke County and Strasburg.
On Nov. 19, the Panthers will hold a fundraising event at 6 p.m. They will be showing the DVDs from their performances the past two springs on the television game show, “It’s Academic.” A suggested donation of $5 for the purchase of a DVD would be appreciated.
Naser has been working to establish a consistent starting lineup in the Panthers’ first five matches. Only Perry and Collins have started every round.
Monday night against Strasburg, juniors Cullen McCarthy and Austen Cloud started. McCarthy got a music question as the Panthers jumped out to a 75-60 lead. Senior Brittany Stephens played in the second or directed round.
“I think our communication in the directed rounds was much better than the first night,” Collins said. “We were asking each other about the answer.”
Junior Clayton Hatcher started in three toss-up rounds, including the final round against the Rams.
“Based on Strasburg’s record, I knew they were beatable,” Naser said, adding, “not pushovers but beatable.”
Naser said that he needs to see more consistency in scoring from other members of the team. Monday night, Perry and Collins accounted for 82 percent of the Rappahannock County toss-up points.
“I thought we had the best people in there at the time,” he said. “The other players, they are lacking in experience and they’re not willing to buzz in. I keep hearing that we’re not as good as we were two years ago. Well, you need to work if you want to be where we were two years ago.”
Two years ago, Rappahannock County won its first state Scholastic Bowl championship.
“Once we get to the district tournament, it’s going to be a fight to finish second,” Perry said. “We need a lot more work on music and art. There needs to be some other input from somewhere.”