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The Loudoun Report: Week 8

After week's of scraping by to remain unbeaten, Stone Bridge finally tumbled in the Liberty District on Monday, while several teams showcased a new look on offense and Loudoun Valley outlasted Stonewall Jackson in overtime.

Here are the biggest stories from the weekend in Loudoun...

Madison Ends Stone Bridge's Unbeaten Run in the Liberty
It was bound to come to an end eventually, but the way the Bulldogs' unbeaten streak atop the Liberty District ended last night was as abrupt as it was surprising. All season long, coach Mickey Thompson has warned that this season's Bulldogs may the most inexperienced, untested group he's ever had in Ashburn. In Monday's homecoming-ruining 28-14 loss to Madison, his team was over-matched and out-muscled from the outset.

Since an injury sidelined junior quarterback Brian Rody on Oct. 2, the Bulldogs (6-1) had gone almost entirely to the ground where their bullish line and single-wing scheme had powered them past district opponents. But last night, for whatever reason, they went away from the bread and butter and lined up far more frequently in the spread formation than their traditional single-wing. Both of their scores came through the air, courtesy of junior quarterback Kyle Gouveia, but the Bulldogs could not muster any form of running attack. That coupled with struggles in the punting game resulted in bad field position, and the Madison offense took advantage of short fields and a dominant offensive line.

Junior running back Marcus Harris was held to a season-low 31 yards on 13 carries and was kept out of the end zone for the first time since the season opener. On the opening drive of the second half he lined up alone in the backfield and took direct snaps, resulting in the majority of his yardage, but the Warhawks' defense was solid in pursuit all night long.

The loss was the first ever against a Liberty District team for Stone Bridge, which entered the contest with a 34-0 record against Liberty opponents and a 49-game winning streak against district opponents dating back to the team's days in the AA Dulles. After knocking the Warhawks out of the Northern Region playoffs in their first two seasons in the Liberty, the Bulldogs were 2-0 against Madison over the last two years, winning by a combined score of 62-7.

Stone Bridge is still in strong playoff positioni - and was aided by Westfield's 21-20 shocker over Robinson - but according to Thompson, this team was already "hanging by a thread" heading into last night. If they're hoping for another deep playoff run, there's quite a bit of work to be done before the Bulldogs can regain their swagger.

Wildcat Sightings
Stone Bridge wasn't the only team going with a wildcat-like formation on Monday night. With injuries to multiple starting quarterbacks and other signal-callers struggling mightily, teams have been forced to go with different looks on offense to take advantage of what personnel they have left.

In Sterling, the Briar Woods Falcons slotted junior running back Michael Brownlee behind center and let him rack up the rushing yards and attempt some passes as well. He notched his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing effort, totaling 164 yards on 31 carries with a touchdown and added a 49-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Haufler that proved to be the difference in a 14-7 win at Potomac Falls. In two weeks with limited time spelling senior Austin Frattali at QB, Brownlee is now 5 of 6 for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Just down the road, Dominion found success with a similar approach. With junior quarterback Trey Baxter sidelined with an injury to his throwing shoulder, starting tailback DeAndre Reaves to direct snaps in the backfield and ran the offense himself. Reaves - who has been the primary offensive weapon all season on a team averaging 16.7 points per game - was not especially effective through the air, completing 2 of 7 passes for 12 yards, but the formation did wonders for his rushing totals.

After snapping a 10-game stretch in which he was held below 100-yards rushing Oct. 2 at Freedom, Reaves ripped up the Loudoun County defense for 253 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. The junior had two 200-yard nights as a freshman, but hadn't cracked the mark since his 247-yard effort against Freedom last season. After averaging just 45.25 yards per game while dealing with ankle injuries through the first four weeks of the season, Reaves has totaled 463 yards in the Titans' last three contests.

But that effort wasn't quite enough to beat Loudoun County on a night when first-time starter Kevin Fitts was every bit as productive as backfield adversary. In place of injured starter Adam Yesuf, Fitts rushed for 198 yards - with 138 of those coming in the second half - and two touchdowns, including the game-winner as the Raiders rallied back from a 16-7 fourth-quarter deficit to edge Dominion 22-16.

Valley Has Just Enough to Get Past Stonewall in OT
One week after surrendering a 29-24 fourth-quarter lead in an eventual loss to Cedar Run rivals Osbourn, the Vikings found themselves rolling toward another frustrating district loss against Stonewall Jackson on homecoming in Purcellville last night. Leading 10-3 in the final frame, Valley's advantage evaporated on a Sean Blackman touchdown run and the ensuing kick.

The Vikings failed to score in the fourth, but held on for overtime where Kevin Wiley - who had scored the team's lone touchdown on a 75-yard run in the third quarter - again found paydirt on a one-yard plunge as Valley claimed its first district victory of the season with a 16-10 result. Wiley had only nine carries but rushed for a team-high 121 yards as the Vikes out-gained the Raiders 292-192 on the night.

Park View Upends West Virginia Powerhouse in Lone Friday Tilt
Only one game went on as scheduled on Friday in Loudoun due to the downpour, but that contest offered more than enough drama for one night of football.

Park View jumped out to a 21-7 lead behind three touchdowns by senior Tommy Sedeski, but had to hang on after a furious rally by visiting Martinsburg to escape with a 21-20 victory. The win over the previously 6-1 Bulldogs could be just enough to secure the Patriots (5-2) a spot in the AA Division 3 playoffs. Maybe just as importantly, Park View gets a normal week of rest and preparation in advance of next week's matchup with Briar Woods while the Falcons have a quick turnaround following their win over Potomac Falls on Monday before their return to Sterling to take on the Patriots.

Here's your look ahead to this weekend's matchups:
No. 9 Battlefield (7-0) at Heritage (2-5), 7:30 p.m.
Stone Bridge (6-1) at Langley (3-4), 7:30 p.m.
South Lakes (5-2) at Dominion (3-4), 7:30 p.m.
Potomac Falls (2-5) at Freedom-South Riding (2-5), 7:30 p.m.
Briar Woods (2-6) at Park View (5-2), 7:30 p.m.
Herndon (4-3) at Loudoun Valley (4-3), 7:30 p.m.
Loudoun County (5-1) at No. 3 Broad Run (8-0), 1:30 p.m. (Saturday)

By Matt Brooks  |  October 20, 2009; 4:58 PM ET
Categories:  AA Dulles , AAA Cedar Run District , AAA Liberty District , Dominion , Football , Loudoun County High School , Loudoun Valley High School , Madison , Park View , Stonewall Jackson  
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