Monday (Afternoon) Quarterback
With the first week of district play in the books, we finally have an idea of how a few of Loudoun's teams match up against one another. The Spartans, Titans and Falcons are tied atop the Dulles with 1-0 records while Heritage battled back late for its first win of the season against Loudoun Valley in the Cedar Run and Stone Bridge dumped Jefferson once again to kickoff the Liberty schedule. Here are a few of the big stories from Friday night...
The Titans Finally Knock Off One of their Parent Schools
When Dominion High School opened up in Sterling in 2003, it drained enrollment and the athlete pool from neighboring Park View and Potomac Falls. While the Titans broke through with a state playoff run in the 2008-09 basketball season, they had yet to make their mark on the football field. Coming into the season, Dominion was 0-12 all-time against its Sterling rivals and had been outscored 369-118 in those meetings. But Friday night the young Titans finally got the best of one of their two big brothers, taking down Potomac Falls 17-12 at home.
After falling behind early, Dominion tied things up on junior RB DeAndre Reaves' first touchdown of the season and then took the lead for good on a third quarter touchdown pass from junior QB Trey Baxter to Aaron Gravallese. The Titans (2-2) only managed 165 total yards, so this wasn't a thing of beauty, but for a team that managed just one victory in Karl Buckwalter's first year as coach last season, a win over their biggest rivals is something to celebrate.
Now can Dominion build on this win? That remains to be seen. They'll need to throw for more than 53 yards in order to open things up for Reaves who has really struggled with defenses keying on him early in the season. He's carried 44 times for only 136 yards - good for a 3.1 yards per carry clip - and the single touchdown. That's well off his pace from last year when he piled up 836 yards and six scores on 194 carries and nowhere near his freshman totals of 1,280 yards and 14 touchdowns on 218 carries. But back-to-back wins for the Titans is clearly an indication of progress and Friday's visit to Freedom presents an opportunity to extend their modest streak.
Heritage Makes a Splash Against Valley
The Pride were the victims of tough scheduling and inexperience on both sides of the ball during their 0-3 start to the year. But their performance Friday night in Purcellville against a red-hot Vikings team proved they're not over their heads in their first AAA season.
Just as they did in losses to Stone Bridge and Broad Run, the Pride (1-3, 1-0) jumped out to an early lead on two second quarter touchdown passes from Austin Nelson to Dan Dykema and took a 14-2 lead into the break. But when Valley stormed back to take a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Heritage must have felt like they were experiencing major deja vu. But Nelson hooked up with senior David McCarthy on a 47-yard touchdown to give the Pride a 21-17 win, their first of the season and the first for new head coach Steve Williams.
Nelson has quietly put up great numbers in his first season as a starter after incumbent Brian Rody transferred to Stone Bridge in the offseason. The 6-foot, 150 pound sophomore is 42-84 for 650 yards with seven touchdowns and only two interceptions. Not too shabby on an offense that only returned five starters from last year's squad.
The Pride have really struggled on the ground, however, averaging only 50 yards rushing through four games, and if they hope to hold their own in the league, they'll need a much more balanced attack.
Speaking of balance, the Vikings (3-2) have also leaned heavily on the passing game and junior QB Andrew Taylor. After keeping the ball on the ground for the majority of last season - one in which they averaged only 7.5 points per game - Taylor has led an aerial assault that's put up 795 passing yards and nine passing touchdowns. They've only scored six rushing TDs, but that's not from a lack of effort. After going pass-heavy in their first couple games, the Vikings used better balance in the loss to the Pride, rushing for 209 yards. But Taylor's two interceptions proved costly as the Vikes were unable to come back from a second deficit late.
This game did not factor into the Cedar Run standings as the two will meet again at Heritage on Oct. 30 for a district matchup. That's what happens when you're league is trimmed to only five times.
Briar Woods Gets Off the Schnide
Like the Pride, the Falcons faced stiff competition in their non-district schedule and were unable to breakthrough for a win heading into district play. But Charlie Pierce's guys came out with a vengeance in Friday's annual "Bird Bowl" against their rivals from Freedom.
Briar Woods (1-4) had a 28-0 lead after one quarter behind three rushing touchdowns and a 42-yard interception return for a score by Steven Fields. Junior RB Michael Brownlee carried 18 times for 153 yards and two scores and the Falcon defense held the Eagles to all of two rushing yards and 41 total. The passing offense remains relatively nonexistent - they Falcons attempted just three passes on the night compared to 42 running plays - but Pierce decided it was time to go back to the hard-nosed, smash-mouth style that Briar Woods has succeeded with in years past.
Win No. 2 won't come easy Friday at home against Broad Run, but the Falcons had to get this one if they had any hopes of returning to the playoffs for a third straight year.
For more on Friday's Park View-Broad Run game, check out my story on Adrian Flemming from Sunday's Print Extra...
Here's a quick look at the Week 6 schedule:
Briar Woods (1-4) at No. 4 Broad Run (5-0), 7:30
Dominion (2-2) at Freedom (2-2), 7:30
Loudoun County (4-0) at Park View (2-2), 7:30
Marshall (0-4) at No. 11 Stone Bridge (4-0), 7:30
Osbourn (3-2) at Heritage (1-3), 7:30
And how about an early poll on the Game of the Week?
September 28, 2009; 2:05 PM ET
Categories: Briar Woods High School , Broad Run High School , Cedar Run District , Dominion High School , Dulles District , Football , Freedom High School , Heritage High School , Loudoun County High School , Loudoun Valley High School , Park View High School , Potomac Falls High School
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