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Monday (Night) Quarterback

One of Loudoun's two teams to take the field over the weekend advanced while the other fell in a very close contest. Today we'll wrap up Loudoun County's 2009 season and look ahead to the second round.

Loudoun County Raiders (8-3)
It was not long ago that the Raiders went 0-10 and hit rock bottom in the Dulles District. Just a few years later they've reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and increased their win total substantially in each season. Led by the top passing offense in the district with Austin Campbell at the helm and a dominant offensive line, the Raiders took another big step in 2009.

With receivers Michael Ayoub and Chase Williams at his side, Campbell threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns and the Raiders rolled through their early season schedule. The lone regular season speed bumps came at Park View and Broad Run, but the rest of the way, they dominated opponents with an effective running game and a hard-hitting defense featuring the Virginia Tech-bound Williams at middle linebacker.

The season came to an abrupt and unceremonious end in a home away from home first round playoff tilt against James Wood that ended in a 27-25 defeat, but the Raiders need only to look over their shoulders at where they've been to realize how far they've come.

What they'll lose: The 2009 Raiders had a host of experience at the skill positions, which is often the case when you're loaded with seniors. But that also means the bulk of their key offensive contributors will graduate this spring. Campbell, Ayoub, Williams, running backs Adam Yesuf and Kevin Fitts, guard Teddy Orrison and center Nick Veschi will all leave huge holes, and on the defense, Williams, fellow linebacker Jake Wasko and lineman Brandin Holmes will be just as difficult to replace. And then there's kicker Calle Brown, whose big foot propelled the Raiders to a couple early season victories and routinely forced opponents to start possessions at their own 20 yard lines.

What to expect in 2010: The list of returning starters isn't too long but includes junior defense back Jack Reimers, who was a source of big plays for a solid defensive unit. That side of the ball will need to shoulder the load in the early going as the Raiders break in a new quarterback, new running backs, new receivers and a new offensive line. It may not be the prettiest of starts to the season, but Todd Hill has figured out how to light a fire under his players in Leesburg and you can expect next year's bunch will look to pick up the torch and keep things moving in the right direction. The progress made over the past three years is remarkable and that's a credit to the coaching staff and the players. Even with the mass exodus of seniors, Hill will have his kids playing with intensity and passion as they try to get back to the postseason for a third consecutive season.

This weekend's games:

AAA Northern Region Div. 5 Semifinals
Madison (7-4) at Stone Bridge (10-1), Fri., 7:30
The Skinny: Well, well, well. It didn't take long for the Bulldogs to get a shot at revenge against the only Liberty team to ever upend them. The Warhawks totally shut down Stone Bridge's single-wing attack in a 28-14 win in Ashburn last month and they'll look to repeat the feat in Friday's semifinal. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are playing their best ball of the season at just the right time and quarterback Kyle Gouveia assured me there would be added motivation for his team in this matchup.

AA Region II Div. 4 Semifinals
Liberty (8-3) at No. 2 Broad Run (10-0), Fri., 7
The long wait is over for the Spartans who finally get back on the field for their first game action in three weeks. Broad Run has the talent to get back to the state title game and defend its title but they may need to shake off a bit of rust in the opening quarter against a Liberty team fresh off a 14-6 win over Louisa County in the quarterfinals. Nevertheless, with T.J. Peeler, Adrian Flemming, Connor Jessop, David Weaver, Joey Quigg and company on offense and a lock-down 'D', Broad Run goes in as the heavy favorite at home.

AA Region II Div. 3 Semifinals
Western Albemarle (10-1) at Park View (7-3), Fri., 7
The Patriots will also be well rested when they take the field for their first home playoff game in three years. Look for the Patriots to lean on what got them to this point - a multitude of touches for their three-headed monster of QB Brandon Lee, WR/RB Tommy Sedeski and RB Daryus Beale. Park View closed the season strong - especially defensively - and will look to maintain that momentum against a Warriors team that put up 46 points in a quarterfinal win over Skyline. The win was Western's first postseason victory since 1979!

Check out the All-Cedar Run District teams here and click here to submit a video of an outstanding play from the high school football season for a compilation we're working on.

By Matt Brooks  |  November 16, 2009; 8:50 PM ET
Categories:  Broad Run High School , Football , Loudoun County High School , Northern Region , Park View High School , Region II , Stone Bridge High School  
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