Football Night in Loudoun County
This week features a key matchup between two playoff hopefuls -- Loudoun County and Park View -- and perhaps the most meaningful contest ever between a pair of 2-2 teams, Dominion and Freedom-South Riding.
Here's a look at what's on the slate Friday in Loudoun...
Game of the Week
Loudoun County (4-0) at Park View (2-2), 7:30
The way things are going in Leesburg these days, does anyone even remember the 18-game losing streak that plagued the Raiders from 2005-07? County is off to its best start since '02 and is aiming for its first 5-0 start this decade on Friday in Sterling. The backbone for the Raiders' resurgence is a defense that has allowed only 8.25 points per game this fall and features game-changing senior linebackers Chase Williams and Jake Wasko. For the Patriots to bounce back from last week's disappointing 52-22 loss to Broad Run, they'll need to find some success on the ground against the Raiders' front seven which should open things up for big-armed QB Brandon Lee and play-making receivers Tommy Sedeski and J.R. Shooks.
But a shootout is a dangerous proposition with the way the Raiders have been moving the ball behind senior RB Adam Yesuf (575 yards, 6 touchdowns) and the quietly efficient play of senior QB Austin Campbell (38-50, 568 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT).
"My biggest question for County coming in to the year was going to be their quarterback play," Park View Coach Andy Hill said. "But Campbell manages the game well and makes the smart throws. He doesn't blow you away, but when you look at the end of the game, he's completed 80 or 90 percent of his passes because he's not taking unnecessary risks."
Dominion (2-2) at Freedom-South Riding, 7:30
The Titans are flying high after their first win against Sterling rival Potomac Falls and are back to .500 after a rough start to the season. Junior tailback DeAndre Reaves scored his first touchdown of 2009 as Dominion scraped out a 17-12 victory despite amassing only 165 yards of total offense. A win in South Riding would give Dominion another first in the form of a 2-0 start in the Dulles District. Meanwhile, the Eagles -- who are winless against the Titans -- hope to rebound after dropping their last two after an unprecedented 2-0 start.
The key to this one could be Dominion's defense, which struggled in two losses to start the season but has played much better through the last six quarters. Senior defensive end Riley Sullivan leads a unit that will focus on stopping Eagles senior RB Jeff Pugh (365 yards, 4 TDs) to force QB Chuck Thompson to beat them with his arm. This is one of the biggest games either team has played in its young history and could shape up to be one of the more hotly contested games on Friday night.
Briar Woods (1-4) at No. 4 Broad Run (5-0), 7:30
The Falcons finally got on track last week by going back to basics in a 45-0 victory over Freedom. Behind junior RB Michael Brownlee (153 yards, two touchdowns), Briar Woods rushed for 234 yards and five touchdowns on 42 carries while attempting only three passes. It must show more balance to stand a chance against a Broad Run defense that held Park View to 30 yards on the ground in the first half of last week's victory.
Meanwhile the Spartans are coming off their most complete game of the season in which sophomore QB Connor Jessop was tremendous in limited attempts. Completing 5 of his 6 pass attemps, Jessop hooked up with senior WR Adrian Flemming for three second quarter touchdowns as the Spartans flashed their big-play potential through the air. But an effective passing game - and a minor wardrobe malfunction - did nothing but bolster the play of senior RB T.J. Peeler, who is now up to 806 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Expect the Falcons to come out with a great deal of intensity, but this one has the makings of last year's 29-0 Broad Run rout.
Marshall (0-4) at No. 11 Stone Bridge (4-0), 7:30
The Bulldogs just keep sliding up the rankings -- one notch with each win they tally. Expect that trend to continue this week as the winless Statesmen visit Ashburn. Since a dismal passing display in a narrow win at West Springfield, Stone Bridge has put more emphasis on timing and accuracy in its passing game. The results were impressive last week against Jefferson as sophomore signal-caller Brian Rody was 12 of 14 for 246 yards and two scores. Look for the Bulldogs to continue to focus on offensive balance this week in a game that could be over by halftime.
Osbourn (3-2) at Heritage (1-3), 7:30
The Pride picked just the right time to notch their first win of the season, knocking off Cedar Run foes Loudoun Valley in a rare non-district contest between district squads. Credit first-year coach Steve Williams for continuing to push his young team following an 0-3 start against a brutal non-district schedule. One of the biggest surprises in the area at the QB position has been the play of sophomore Austin Nelson, who has completed 50 percent of his passes for 650 yards and seven touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions. His three-TD effort against the Vikings was the difference in a late come-from-behind victory and he should continue to improve as the season wears on. But coming out on top in a district opener against the Eagles won't be easy. Osbourn is averaging 38 points per game and will be looking to rebound from a 28-26 loss to rivals Osbourn Park.
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.
October 1, 2009; 2:07 PM 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 , Marshall , Osbourn , Park View , Stone Bridge High School
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