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Quarles in, Smith out for No. 12 Woodbridge

With Woodbridge senior Darius Smith set to begin serving the first part of a two-game suspension during Friday night’s home contest against Gar-Field, the No. 12 Vikings will look to a player who has three catches this season for 34 yards.

Of course Demetrius Quarles isn’t exactly your average late-season fill-in.

We’re talking about someone who was a first team All-Northwest Region defensive back last season and the team leader in touchdown receptions with five. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior also picked off six passes and scored twice off of turnovers.

After missing the first eight games of the season because of multiple injuries suffered in an offseason car accident, Quarles returned for the Vikings’ Week 9 contest against Potomac (Va.) on Oct. 23, helping Woodbridge to a 21-7 win.

Quarles brings an established, ball-hawking force to the secondary and could either fill Smith’s vacated spot out wide or continue to line up in the slot as he's been doing for the past two games.

“We’re fortunate to have a player like ‘DQ,’ who knows that he needs to shoulder more responsibility and is capable of doing it,” Interim Coach Kevin Smith said.

Darius Smith, who was experiencing a breakthrough season after switching over from the defensive side of the ball, was ejected midway through the second quarter of Woodbridge’s 9-3 win at Osbourn Park last week, the result of a post-whistle tussle with Yellow Jacket wide receiver Pat Derenda. Officials ruled that Smith threw a punch, prompting the ejection for fighting.

In nine games, Smith has 27 receptions for 430 yards and seven touchdowns while carrying nine times for 45 yards and a touchdown. He also threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Frank Buckley, which came during the Vikings’ 50-44, five-overtime win over Colonial Forge on Sept. 11.

“Of course you can’t replace Darius,” Kevin Smith said. “By learning a new position and then for him to excel at it, you can’t replace that.”

The Woodbridge coaching staff originally disputed whether Darius Smith actually threw a punch; however, despite combing through plenty of tape, nobody has been able to compile enough evidence that would support overturning the suspension.

By having to sit out the Gar-Field game and the Vikings’ first playoff contest, it’s possible that he Smith could be out until the Northwest Region final -- should Woodbridge get that far. With a win over Gar-Field, Woodbridge would retain its first-round bye and not play again until the semifinal round on Nov. 20-21, which would become the second part of Smith’s two-game suspension.

Against Osbourn Park, Woodbridge also called upon Collin Frazer, who took a routine screen pass 49 yards for the decisive touchdown. The Vikings also ran a bit more, relying on their young backfield tandem of freshman Jaylen Avent and sophomore Michael Ford, who both eclipsed the 100-yard mark and combined to rush for 214 yards.

“We do have a strong running game,” Kevin Smith said. “If we need to win games on the ground, it looks like with our offensive line, as well as they played the other night, we are capable of doing that.”

By Jason Mackey  |  November 5, 2009; 9:22 AM ET
Categories:  Football , Gar-Field , Northwest Region , Woodbridge  
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