Football Night in Loudoun County
Week 5 signals the start of district play in Loudoun as the Dulles, Liberty and Cedar Run districts all kickoff their schedules. Heritage gets its first taste of Cedar Run action in a cross-town battle with Loudoun Valley while the first week of Dulles District play features all the rivalries usually reserved for the end of the season.
Here's a look at what's on the slate Friday in Loudoun...
Game of the Week
Park View (2-1) at No. 4 Broad Run (4-0), 7:30
The biggest rivalry in Loudoun is renewed as the defending AA Division 4 state champion Spartans host the Patriots of Park View. Coaches Mike Burnett (BR) and Andy Hill (PV) are close friends and know each other's play-calling well, which makes for quite the interesting matchup. The Spartans are led by senior RB T.J. Peeler, who currently sits third in the area with 609 yards and eight touchdowns, senior wideout Adrian Flemming and up-and-coming sophomore quarterback Connor Jessop. But the Patriots boast one of the top offensive linemen in the district in senior Robert Hayes as well as a big-time playmaker in senior linebacker Michael Devaney. As always, you can expect some trickery from Hill, who likes to keep his opponents guessing from kickoff to the final whistle. Between big-armed senior QB Brandon Lee and shifty WR Tommy Sedeski, the Patriots have a combination on offense that could cause problems for a Broad Run defense that has held opposing offenses to an average of 6.75 points per game. The Spartans are riding a 24-game regular season winning streak and their only blemish over the last three years came in a playoff loss to the Park View in 2007. The Patriots would like nothing more than to snap the streak and prove they belong in the league title conversation once again.
Jefferson (0-3) at No. 12 Stone Bridge (3-0), 7:30
The Colonials and Bulldogs met twice last year, with Stone Bridge winning by a combined score of 128-14. No, that's not a misprint. Sure, these Bulldogs lack the experience and size of last year's bruisers, but the big guys up front proved they're pretty decent replacements when they sprung the holes that led to 380 yards of rushing against West Springfield. The passing game has been nearly nonexistent for Mickey Thompson's squad, but Friday's opponent could give them some opportunities to open things up and get sophomore transfer quarterback Brian Rody some more game experience. Senior Marcus Harris (204 yards last week) will continue to be the key for this offense and should have another gaudy night in the Bulldogs' Liberty District opener.
Heritage (0-3) at Loudoun Valley (3-1), 7:30
The Vikings welcome their eastern neighbors to the Cedar Run fresh off a surprising 20-0 rout of Brooke Point. On the arm of junior QB Andrew Taylor (712 yards, 8 TDs), Valley has taken tremendous strides in year two of the Danny McGrath era. Meanwhile, first-year Heritage Coach Steve Williams is still looking for that elusive first win. The Pride hung tough against Broad Run and Stone Bridge before a lopsided loss to Colonial Forge last week. If this is the week they get off the schnide, they'll need a strong effort from senior RB David McCarthy and a few big hookups between sophomore QB Austin Nelson and senior WR Scott Pratz (187 yards, 3 TDs) to keep pace with the Vikings.
Liberty (2-1) at Loudoun County (3-0), 7:30
Calle Brown's clutch 42-yard field goal in the final minute of Thursday's 13-10 win over Sherando gave the Raiders their first 3-0 start since 2002 and might have signaled Brown's emergence as the top kicker in the district. Senior QB Austin Campbell has come on after a slow start and senior RB Adam Yesuf (394 yards, 5 TDs) just keeps getting it done on the ground. Look for several more hand-offs in his direction against a Liberty defense that yielded 305 yards on the ground to Park View two weeks ago.
Freedom-South Riding (2-1) at Briar Woods (0-4), 7:30
It's the fourth annual Bird Bowl in downtown Brambleton. The Falcons have dominated in recent years, owning a perfect record against their feathered brethren to the south, but the tables have turned a bit in 2009. The Eagles won their first two games under first-year coach Mick Mullins and appear to have erased the memory of their 1-19 mark over the last two seasons. Meantime the Falcons made their second straight trip to the playoffs last year but their first season in Division 4 has provided a rude awakening. Look for a heavy dose of the rushing attack with the way Briar Woods has struggled to find consistency at the quarterback position thus far. They are desperate for this win and expect to beat their rivals each and every year. But senior RB Jeff Pugh (365 yards, 4 TDs) and the Eagles are on the rise and sense the Falcons could be ripe for the picking.
Potomac Falls (2-2) at Dominion (1-2), 7:30
It's the battle of Sterling between the banged up Panthers and their bitter rivals down the road, the Dominion Titans. Potomac Falls was out to prove last year's trip to the Region II playoffs was no fluke but injuries to starting QB Zac Hobby and several other key contributors derailed their hot start. Senior WR Tarrell Owens (237 yards, 4 TDs) still demands a double-team on just about every play, but the Panthers have to get the ball in his hands in order to take advantage of his playmaking ability. For the Titans, year two under Karl Buckwalter has been just as challenging as the first, but last week's dramatic come-from-behind win over Wakefield could be a turning point. Junior RB DeAndre Reaves has been bottled up to this point and the Panthers will surely aim to do the same, instead forcing junior QB Trey Baxter to make plays in the passing game. This could be a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair.
For much more coverage of Loudoun high school sports -- including weekly rankings, top performers and numerous other regular features -- check out my Loudoun Extra Points blog.
September 25, 2009; 9:45 AM ET
Categories: AA Dulles , AAA Cedar Run District , AAA Liberty District , Briar Woods , Broad Run , Dominion , Football , Freedom South-Riding , Heritage High School , Loudoun County High School , Loudoun Valley High School , Park View , Potomac Falls , Stone Bridge High School
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