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Loudoun Leftovers: Week 4

Two of Loudoun's AAA teams notched big wins on Thursday night, and two of the top teams in the Dulles District renew their rivalry this week. Here are this week's story lines in Loudoun County football.

Leftovers from Stone Bridge-West Springfield
This turned out to be one of the more exciting, back-and-forth games I've covered. The Spartans' spread passing attack looked unstoppable in the first quarter, and Stone Bridge couldn't convert on third downs to move the ball. Then all of a sudden they get two quick scoring plays within two minutes at the end of the first quarter and to start the second, and it was wild and crazy the rest of the way. (Here's my full recap.)

The two biggest things I took away from this game were:

- The Bulldogs offensive line is still one of the best in the area: It's partially a product of the single-wing (which you'd think the Spartans hadn't seen first hand each of the last four seasons based on the way they tried to defend it), but it's mainly just a tribute to the brute strength and effort these guys put forth. Seniors Kyle Wrenn, Mark Kalscheuer, Eric Volz and Mitchell Freitas and juniors Adam Forbes and Rob Burns absolutely manhandled the Spartans' defensive front in the second half. As a team, the Bulldogs piled up 380 rushing yards and their ability to control the line of scrimmage enabled them to run out the clock after West Springfield cut the lead to three with six minutes left. Even with all the new faces on this unit, they remain the catalyst for the offense and running back Marcus Harris (25-204, TD).


Marcus Harris and the Bulldogs ran wild on Thursday night. (Photo by Joel Richardson, The Washington Post)

- The passing game has a long way to go: It was always going to be tough to replace Patrick Thompson on this offense, but so far, the Bulldogs have found very minimal production from their quarterbacks. Junior transfer Brian Rody has a big arm but looked lost at times Thursday night, overthrowing open receivers and missing reads. Kyle Gouveia was inserted late in the game and had success running it right through the defense, but 34 yards passing for an entire game is rarely going to be enough to pull out a win, and Mickey Thompson knows it.

"We're struggling throwing the football," he said. "People are pretty much daring us to pass. They're giving us one-on-one coverage and very little underneath help, so we've got to be able to hit some plays. We've got to pass block a little better and plus we've also got to hit those routes. If we're going to get to be a good football team -- I think we're a very average football team right now -- if we're going to get good, that has to come."

I'd imagine Thompson doesn't believe his team is worthy of our No. 12 ranking -- at least not at this point -- but it has knocked off some solid teams and looking ahead, it might not face another stiff test until hosting Madison on Oct. 16, and by that point the Bulldogs could be 6-0.

Loudoun Valley Keeps Rolling in Stafford
Raise your hand if you expected the Vikings to be 3-1 after their first four games coming into the season. Now give yourselves a pat on the back. Seriously, who expected Danny McGrath to get things turned around so quickly in Purcellville after last year's 1-9 campaign?

Thursday's 20-0 rout of Brooke Point at home matched Valley's combined win total from the last two seasons and should have the rest of the Cedar Run district on notice that the boys in green will be bringing it in the coming weeks. It was a different formula than the aerial assault the Vikings launched in their first two wins. They were actually out-gained 336-214 but forced three key turnovers and capitalized on their scoring opportunities. Junior quarterback Andrew Taylor had his first interception-free game of the season with 73 yards and a touchdown to Kyle Kohnen - his sixth of the young season. The Vikings open up shop in the Cedar Run on Friday at home against Heritage.

"I'm just happy for our players that they get to realize a start like this and I've been fortunate to go through, in football, it's all hard work -- anything worth anything is worth working for," McGrath said. "Those guys are starting to believe in the power of hard work. They realize good things come if you buckle down and work hard toward a common goal."

Looking Ahead to Friday's Biggest Matchup
So what if it's the first week of the Dulles District schedule (yes, I agree, it's a crime), Park View-Broad Run is still the biggest game in town this week. In one corner you've got the No. 4 Spartans -- undefeated over their last 18 games and currently the favorite to repeat as AA Division 4 state champs. In the other, the Patriots -- the last team to knock off Broad Run and a group of veterans who appear to have put last year's troubles behind and regained the swagger Park View football always seems to have. It's the perfect matchup to kickoff league play.

The Spartans have steamrolled their first four opponents, outscoring them 144-27 while rumbling for 1,058 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Meantime the Patriots have put the ball in the hands of senior QB Brandon Lee who hasn't disappointed, throwing for 243 yards and 5 touchdowns and rushing for 341 more yards and two key 80-plus yard scores in a come-from-behind win at Liberty.Two key matchups to watch will be T.J. Peeler against Park View's front seven and wide receiver Tommy Sedeski against the Broad Run secondary. Both individuals possess the kind of big-play ability that can change the momentum of a game in a heartbeat.

Last season the Patriots came into this matchup with a 3-6 mark but still managed to put up 26 points on the vaunted Spartans defense in a 13-point defeat. This season they're healthy and much better equipped to challenge the reigning champs in Ashburn.

For much more on the buildup to this game and expanded coverage of Loudoun high school sports -- including weekly rankings, top performers and numerous other regular features -- check out my Loudoun Extra Points blog!

By Matt Brooks  |  September 22, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  AA Dulles , Broad Run , Football , Loudoun Valley High School , Park View , Stone Bridge High School  
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Next: Woodbridge Sneaks Away With Win

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