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Impressions from Loudoun, Fairfax

It certainly felt like Friday night last night out in Reston. So much so that toward the end of Herndon's win over South Lakes the P.A. announcer came across the speakers with a note: "Reminder, there is school tomorrow."

I thought I'd give you all a couple notes from the games last night, at least the ones I know a little something about. It'll be a mix of Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, most likely. And probably more like Loudoun -- plus whatever game I covered.

It was a good night for soccer goalkeepers: Just scanning over two games I saw – Herndon and Loudoun County – and two names stuck out and had strong nights that I had seen a lot before during the spring when I cover boys' soccer.

Herndon's Alex Stopa and Loudoun County's Calle Brown – both honorable mention All-Met selections the past two seasons had an impact on their teams' respective wins.

Stopa averaged 40 yards on five punts – and that included one 20-yarder he mis-hit on his final attempt. None was more important than the 58-yarder he boomed in the third quarter than turned field position. The punt, from Herndon's 40 yard line, pinned South Lakes inside its 2-yard line. Two plays later, the Hornets tackled the Seahawks in the end zone for a safety to increase the lead to 23-19.

Stopa also nailed all of his PAT attempts.

Brown, meanwhile, also turned in a superb performance for the undefeated Raiders. In his first season playing varsity football for Loudoun County, Brown was the hero last night against Sherando.

Brown hit a game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter and then, with only one minute remaining in the contest, nailed a 42-yard field goal to lift the Raiders to a 13-10 victory.

Brown, a 6-foot-3 senior, might end up being a pretty good prospect as a kicker. Problem is he's already committed to the University of Virginia to play goalkeeper.

Feel good story in Purcellville: There were few coaches that had to deal with as much adversity last season as Loudoun Valley's Danny McGrath.

At the age of 25, McGrath took over the Vikings program just weeks before the start of the season. To make things worse, he faced the challenge of overcoming a lack of support from some parents and seniors who were reluctant for change.

McGrath never wavered, however, as the Vikings won just one game in 2008. But this year, with a full offseason of preparation, McGrath has Loudoun Valley at 3-1 – the lone blemish a 14-point loss to Woodbridge on Sept. 4.

Broad Run Has Rolled, But Watch Out: The defending Virginia AA Division 4 state champions, No. 5 Broad Run has faced little resistance this season – though they did go into the half trailing former Dulles District foe Heritage before rallying earlier in the year.

Last night brought another blowout win in Ashburn, a 41-0 romp over Wilson (D.C.). And, as expected, it featured another stellar night from Pitt-bound and preseason All-Met running back T.J. Peeler (14 carries, 121 yards, 2 touchdowns).

The Spartans have outscored their opponents 144-27 in their first four games, but there's no doubt that they must quickly move past the opening few weeks because next week they'll face perhaps the toughest task they'll season in the regular season: Park View.

The Patriots and Spartans usually play in the final week of the regular season, but not this year. Instead, they'll open their district schedule in the rivalry game and many people in the area are excited for what should be a close game.

Park View and Broad Run met twice two years ago when the Spartans were beginning the transformation from district cellar dwellers to state contenders. Both teams were undefeated, and Broad Run won a thrilling 21-14 game in Ashburn.

I followed both teams the week leading up to that match up, and you can read the story and see the three videos here.

The next week in the regional playoffs, however, Park View won the rematch 16-12.

Park View had a down year last season, finishing 3-7 while Broad Run won the state title. Still, the Patriots lost by just 13 and put up 26 points on a defense that had just once before allowed 20 points – and usually only surrendered touchdowns late in games with starters removed.

No doubt Park View Coach Andy Hill is getting his team pumped up for this game, and Broad Run certainly knows they have a target on its back. Will they be able to avoid an upset to start the district season?

By Paul Tenorio  |  September 18, 2009; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  AA Dulles , AAA Cedar Run District , AAA Concorde District , AAA Liberty District , Broad Run , Cedar Run District , Football , Heritage , Herndon , Loudoun County High School , Loudoun Valley High School , Northern Region , Northwest Region , Park View , Region II  
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