Monday (Afternoon) Quarterback
Friday night featured only five games involving Loudoun teams, but there was still plenty of compelling action on a rain-filled night. Broad Run and Dominion remained undefeated in the Dulles District while Park View upended previously-unbeaten Loudoun County to get back to even in league play. Stone Bridge rolled past Marshall, despite an injury to quarterback Brian Rody, and Heritage tasted defeat in its first Cedar Run matchup.
Here are a few of the top storylines from the week that was...
A Titanic Turnaround
Last week I discussed the importance of Dominion's first-ever win against Sterling rivals Potomac Falls. Following a gutsy come-from-behind win against Wakefield the previous week, the Titans were able to dig out another close one against the Panthers to carry their momentum into Friday's visit to South Riding. Well, whatever second-year Coach Karl Buckwalter said to his team in the halftime locker room during that Wakefield game seems to have stuck.
With Friday's 39-0 rout of Freedom - the biggest scoring differential in program history - the Titans (3-2) have won three straight and are currently tied atop the Dulles District with defending champions Broad Run. After a dreadful 0-2 start in which they were outscored 87-9, Dominion has now tied it's best single-season win total in the district and heads into Friday's home matchup with Broad Run with more confidence than the team has had in years.
The passing game still has a ways to go with junior quarterback Trey Baxter at the helm, but his 3 of 3 performance for 77 yards and three touchdowns was the epitome of efficiency. More performances like that will prevent everyone stacking the box to try to stop Reaves.
A matchup Friday with unbeaten Broad Run presents a serious litmus test for a team looking to continue the rebuilding process in year two under Buckwalter. A win might not be in the cards against the Spartans high-powered offense and punishing 'D', but a competitive contest would signal further progress. And don't think Broad Run has forgotten last year's scare - when they led just 11-6 in the fourth with Dominion driving before the Titans imploded. It may be not be the early battle for first place most expected coming into the season, but that won't make Friday's game in Sterling any less interesting.
Park View Rebounds, Upends Loudoun County
Speaking of interesting matchups, Friday's water-logged contest between these two squads was quite the case study. The Raiders grabbed the upper-hand early on with an 86-yard hookup between senior QB Austin Campbell and senior TE Chase Williams and appeared in control after Park View was unable to put points on the board on each of its first four possessions.
That all changed with a highlight-reel 47-yard touchdown run by senior RB Daryus Beale - his first of the season - which gave the Patriots a one-point lead. The Raiders fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving Park View a short field, and the Patriots capitalized on senior Tommy Sedeski's 23-yard scoring run. Another long Sedeski run led to a third touchdown in the final 2 minutes 37 seconds of the half and just like that, the Patriots went into the break leading 21-6, despite being outplayed for the first 21 minutes of the contest.
Despite trailing by only two touchdowns, the Raiders (4-1) went almost exclusively to the air in the second half, which seemed to play right into the hands of Park View's undersized, speedy defense. After finding early first half success on the ground, Loudoun County passed on 32 of 40 second half plays. Despite 330 passing yards for Campbell, the Raiders managed just two third-quarter first downs and could not overcome three turnovers in a 28-13 loss.
It was an inspired performance from the Patriots - playing without All-District lineman Robert Hayes who was out with a shoulder stinger - as they responded well following a 52-22 rout at Broad Run.
"We're just trying to be more disciplined," Park View Coach Andy Hill said. "Most of the game we just ran our base defense. I think last week we tried to get cute. We tried to load the box with an extra defender - we asked kids to do things that hadn't for the first seven weeks of football. When we sat down Saturday morning, we didn't talk about County at all, we talked about trying to get back to the basics."
The Patriots get another chance to boost their district standing when they visit cross-town rivals Potomac Falls on Friday. Meantime, the Raiders must bounce back against a Briar Woods team that gave Broad Run all it could handle last week.
Falcons Impress Despite Defeat
Kudos to Charlie Pierce for getting the Falcons fired up and ready to go two weeks ago against Freedom. There's no need for extra motivation heading into a backyard battle with Broad Run, but after shaking off some of the frustration of an 0-4 start in their blowout of the Eagles, Briar Woods was able to build momentum and confidence heading into Friday's meeting with their Ashburn rivals.
No, the Falcons did not pull the upset, but when the 7-0 Broad Run halftime score was announced at Park View, there was an audible gasp on the sidelines and in the stands. Briar Woods, which went into last year's meeting undefeated and came out on the wrong end of a 29-0 shellacking, was within 14-6 through three quarters but couldn't hold off the Spartan offense in the final stanza on a 27-12 defeat.
Still, you have to like the effort and the fight from a team that hasn't caught any breaks this season. If Michael Brownlee can put up 174 yards on the ground and 226 overall against the vaunted Broad Run defense, are we looking at one of the top two or three backs in the district this year? On the flip side, what does that say about the Broad Run run defense? Could there be concerns in Sparta this week?
Here's a quick look at the Week 7 schedule:
No. 4 Broad Run at Dominion, 7:30
Freedom-South Riding at George Mason, 7:30
Loudoun County at Briar Woods, 7:30
Loudoun Valley at Osbourn, 7:30
Park View at Potomac Falls, 7:30
No. 11 Stone Bridge at Fairfax, 7:30
And Join "The Varsity Debate"
Today's topic..."With most public schools at the season's midpoint, which team has been the most surprising so far?"
This week's Game of the Week features a clash of the two remaining undefeated teams in the Dulles District. Let's take an early barometer reading on the anticipated result...
October 5, 2009; 2:11 PM ET
Categories: Briar Woods High School , Dominion High School , Dulles District , Football , Loudoun County High School , Park View High School
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