Football Night in Loudoun County
Week 3 was an impressive showing for Loudoun's football programs as county schools posted a 7-2 record, with one of those losses coming in an inter-county battle. No. 5 Broad Run held its place and No. 13 Stone Bridge moved up in our weekly rankings and two more teams - Loudoun County and Freedom - remained undefeated on the season.
Can the eight Loudoun schools in action repeat their success Thursday night? Here's your first look at what's on tap,,,
Loudoun County (2-0) at Sherando (3-0), 7 p.m.
Despite several key losses on offense, the Raiders drubbed their first two opponents by a combined score of 80-7 behind a powerful rushing attack and stifling defense. This week, they face a stiffer test in undefeated Sherando, which routed Washington (W.Va.) 41-0 last week. Senior running back Adam Yesuf (32 carries, 319 yards, 4 TDs) will continue to be the catalyst for the offense, but quarterback Austin Campbell (15-22, 236 yards, 3 TDs), will need to make plays through the air for the Raiders to get past the Warriors.
Heritage (0-2) at Colonial Forge (1-1), 7 p.m.
You couldn't tell by looking at their record, but the Pride have actually played quite well in their first two games at the AAA level. They've been hot out of the gates in close losses to Broad Run and Stone Bridge - taking early leads in both - but haven't been able to sustain their intensity throughout a full four quarters. The big plays have come through the passing game where they've connected for all four of their touchdowns this season. The ground game has yet to come together, however, and they'll need better production from senior RB David McCarthy (14 carries, 65 yards) to finish teams off in the third and fourth quarters. But the Pride might find themselves in a shootout this week against an Eagles team averaging 40.5 points per game so far this season..
Game of the Week
No. 13 Stone Bridge (2-0) at West Springfield (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
Before this year, you had to go all the way back to the final game of the 2005 season to find the last time the Bulldogs played a game decided by 11 points or fewer. Two games into 2009 they've already registered two such contests. This isn't the same "blow you out in the first half and then close up shop in the second" team the Northern Region has come to fear in recent years. But Mickey Thompson's squad is still finding ways to win games against quality opponents.
Thus far, it's been the veteran leadership of juniors Spenser Rositano, Kyle Gouveia and Marcus Harris - the lone returning starters from last year's state semifinalists - who have carried the load for the Bulldogs. Together, they've accounted for all seven of the team's touchdowns, but their over-extension on both sides of the ball has Thompson worried about a let down later in the season.
“Those are the three guys that have really kept us going,” he said. “I think we’re relying way too much on them right now as two-way players. We need some other guys to step up and take the pressure off them so they don’t wear down later in the season.”
Nevertheless, look for Stone Bridge to ride their playmakers Thursday night when they take on the wide open West Springfield offense. A year ago, the two teams combined for 70 points in a season-opening win for the Bulldogs. Both now feature numerous new faces, but this one should still be a great game to watch.
Potomac Falls (2-1) at Liberty (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Panthers lost so much from last year's 10-2 regional finalists that most wrote them off as a one-year wonder in the Dulles District. But while the offensive explosiveness might be gone, Potomac Falls has held its own in the early going, despite a slew of injuries. Standout senior wide receiver Tarrell Owens and junior quarterback Zac Hobby both suffered injuries last week and it remains to be seen how healthy they will be tomorrow night. Meanwhile, the Eagles are coming off a tough loss to Park View and will be looking to rebound at home against their third consecutive Dulles District opponent.
Freedom (2-0) at Kettle Run (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
When Freedom hired Park View assistant Mick Mullins in February to be its new head coach, the program was coming off a 1-9 campaign and owned a 1-19 mark over the past two years. But the new regime has jump started the Eagles and their fan base with back-to-back wins to open the season, including a 12-6 victory against Brentsville on Friday. Now they visit Kettle Run for their first road game of the year against their third straight AA Evergreen opponent. Expect a heavy dose of senior running back Jeff Pugh (42 carries, 338 yards, 4 touchdowns) as the Eagles look to continue the best start in program history.
Wilson (D.C.) (1-2) at No. 5 Broad Run (3-0), 7 p.m.
The Spartans haven't skipped a beat in the start to their AA Division 4 state title encore, running their consecutive regular season winning streak to 23 with three lopsided victories over non-district opponents. Senior pre-season All-Met running back T.J. Peeler has led the way on offense with 488 yards and six touchdowns on only 50 carries as the Spartans are rushing at a clip of 7.5 yards per carry as a team. Look for that to continue this week when the Tigers visit Ashburn.
Loudoun Valley (1-2) at Brooke Point (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
I watched the Vikings battle back from an early deficit to score two late touchdowns and win in dramatic fashion at home last week against Forest Park. Junior QB Andrew Taylor was picked off twice in the third quarter but bounced back to lead two fourth-quarter touchdown drives and help the Vikings eclipse their 2008 win total in just three weeks. A trip to Brooke Point presents a much tougher challenge. Senior QB Gary Pisall impressed in a season-opening win at Osbourn and the defense shutdown Freedom-Woodbridge in Week 2. Valley will need another full team effort and must cut down on their turnovers and missed scoring opportunities to take this one in Stafford.
Martinsburg (W.Va.) (3-0) at Briar Woods (0-3), 7:30 p.m.
The Falcons are still searching for their first win of the season and it won't come easily against a Martinsburg team that dismantled Potomac Falls 41-16 two weeks ago. Last week, the Falcons changed things up at quarterback, going with sophomore Mark Leith over incumbent Austin Frattali. Leith threw a late touchdown pass but was also intercepted three times as the Falcons fell 17-14 at Handley. They'll need to take care of the ball and avoid three-and-outs against Martinsburg in order to notch their first win tomorrow night in downtown Brambleton.
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 16, 2009; 1:32 PM ET
Categories: Briar Woods , Broad Run , Football , Freedom South-Riding , Heritage High School , Loudoun County High School , Loudoun Valley High School , Park View , Potomac Falls , Stone Bridge High School , West Springfield
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