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McLean at South Lakes Preview

Flashback: The last time the words "South Lakes" and "title" were mentioned in the same sentence (2002), Ola Adams (above) was a wide receiver for the Div. 5 region champion Seahawks. In 2008, Adams made his way from Concord University, where he played defensive back, for a tryout with the Washington Redskins.

If at the beginning of this season you told me that a mid-season match-up between McLean and South Lakes would actually mean something, I'd politely thank you for your time and then slam the door in your face. I'd also talk about you behind your back, mainly about how stupid you are.

However, tonight's 7:30 p.m. kickoff between these two perennial strugglers defies logic in that it is actually going to be both entertaining and meaningful as it pits the Liberty District's two leading rushers.

The Highlanders (3-1, 1-0 Virginia AAA Liberty District) are riding senior Riley Beiro, who enters tonight's game as the conference leader in rushing with 97 carries, 557 yards, 6 TD, despite the fact that he missed a game due to suspension.

South Lakes has junior Ja'Juan Jones, who is the district's second leading rusher with 528 yards, eight touchdowns.

Both backs are averaging over 100 yards per game and two touchdowns.

"We’re keying on" Beiro, said South Lakes Coach John Ellenberger. McLean Coach Jim Patrick "said it. He said to me ‘It’s smoke and mirrors’ and I didn’t know what he meant by that, but you watch film and you realize they might line up in different formations, but in the end the ball always ends up with [Beiro]. So for us, it’s stop" Beiro.

A victory for McLean tonight would set them up for a major turnaround from last year's 0-10 finish. After tonight's game, McLean will have a three-week stretch against Jefferson and Marshall – teams that enter tonight’s games with a combined 0-8 record -- and then Fairfax (2-2) before it will face No. 11 Stone Bridge (4-0) at home for a conference title on Oct. 30.

"After tonight, somebody is going to be 4-1 that hasn't been 4-1 in a long time," said Ellenberger.

Let's get specific about how bad these teams have been.

During a brutal seven-year stretch from 2002 to 2008, McLean went 16-54 and managed nine wins in its conference.

Since it last won the Div. 5 regional title in 2002, South Lakes has suffered through a six-year stretch in which it went 17-44 and managed 12 wins in its conference.

By B.J. Koubaroulis  |  October 2, 2009; 1:57 PM ET
Categories:  AAA Concorde District , AAA Liberty District , AAA National District , AAA Patriot District , McLean  
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