Two Factors in the AA Dulles
It's a week into the season for most Loudoun County schools, and I thought I'd give just some quick thoughts on two teams in the Dulles District who, based on conversations I've had with some coaches and players, may factor into the district football race.
Loudoun County is Not a One-Year Wonder - Most everyone outside of a small part of Leesburg was surprised at the run the Raiders made into the Region II playoff last year, though I had backed them as my sleeper team for most of the season based off the dynamic ability of QB Joe Bushrod and big-time recruit Chase Williams.
This year, the question is whether the graduation of Bushrod will be too much for the Raiders to overcome, and whether the offense is going to be a weak point this year.
I saw Loudoun County play in a scrimmage against Handley and I can say I was a bit worried about the pass protection. They had some trouble with the pressure the Judges brought, and as a result there were few big plays through the air. That may not end up being a problem, however, for two reasons: the LC defense and running game.
While the offense struggled in the scrimmage, the defense was stout. And it wasn't all about Williams. The Raiders brought pressure from everywhere, from the linebackers to the d-line. Handley struggled with A-gap blitzes and failed to do much against the LC starters. That proved itself to be the case in Week One of the season, when the Raiders blanked Musselman (W.Va.), 38-0.
That game also showed the strength of the Raiders offense, which will lean once again on the running game that ended up being the strength of the unit late last year. Running back Adam Yesuf apparently rushed for four touchdowns, though no box score was called in or emailed, so we can't be 100 percent sure.
The scoreline, however, says what many have been thinking going into the season: Loudoun County will be right back up near the top of the district this year.
Keep an eye on: WR Michael Ayoub, LB Jake Wasko, OL Teddy Orrison and K Calle Brown, a UVa.-bound soccer goalkeeper with a huge leg. I also think there will be some surprises on the Raiders' defensive line, especially inside at the nose tackle position.
Park View Has a Shot - I swung by a Park View practice not too long ago to check on the Patriots, who struggled through a down year last season.
The bottom part of the Dulles District standings t was an unusual place for the perennial district challengers, and this year Coach Andy Hill has talked about his team knowing the work ethic it'll take to get back up to the top.
When a team enjoys success, newcomers can often feel as though they have the right to win, and some holdovers may get stuck in the past and not realize that the supporting cast around them is different. A little bit of both last year probably contributed to a difficult season for the Patriots.
This year, however, some coaches have told me they think Park View could be back in the fold, and a quick look over the roster shows plenty of athleticism and potential. Whether the Patriots actually challenge for a postseason spot depends on if those players can step up.
Quarterback Brandon Lee is an athletic freak. Standing at 6-foot-1, 196-pounds, the kid looks like he's dropped some baby fat and it's his play that may be most important to Park View this season. As a junior, Lee flashed his strengths last season but had some trouble harnessing his own talents. For example, with a very strong arm he'd often overthrow open receivers. Now, though, the offense is going to be built around him and I think he'll excel.
Another major piece is WR Tommy Sedeski, who will be used in a ton of different roles and moved around a lot to try to get the ball in his hands. As a sophomore, Sedeski was a huge part of the Patriots 2007 district title, and after an injury-plagued season last year he is back in the mix. Look for big numbers for Sedeski all season.
Those two players, along with Daryus Beale and a few others, could bring Park View back into the playoff picture. I like their lines, led by a very talented Robert Hayes, and despite a season-opening three-point loss to Sherando I think the Patriots have a shot at making some noise.
September 3, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: AA Dulles , Football | Tags: Andy Hill, Brandon Lee, Calle Brown, Chase Williams, Daryus Beale, Football, Handley, Jake Wasko, Joe Bushrod, Loudoun County, Michael Ayoub, Musselman (W.Va.), Park View, Robert Hayes, Sherando, Teddy Orrison, Tommy Sedeski
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Posted by: couper | September 3, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse
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