Langley football claims first playoff win in 12 years at Hayfield’s expense
By Jonas Shaffer,
His sweat-soaked face showing as much of a smile as a wince, Langley’s Philip Mun laughed as he heard his night’s workload. Twenty-four times he had carried the ball, each rush more important than the last.
“I feel it a little bit,” Mun said. “I’ll feel it a little bit more tomorrow morning.”
Wins feel even better, so for a few minutes Friday night at least he could grin and let the elation of a 21-14 victory at Hayfield (7-4) in the Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 5 quarterfinals wash over the aches and pains. That he was responsible for the game-winner — a 35-yard breakaway run that clinched the Saxons’ first playoff win in 12 years — made it more than bearable.
“Phenomenal,” quarterback Nick Casso said of the junior, who finished with 171 yards rushing. “It’s great just to be able to just give him the ball and when I make the right read and have my block on my guy, giving him the chance to go down the field, anything can happen.”
Mun’s heroics became necessary when the ordinary betrayed Langley (7-4) early in the fourth quarter. With a 14-7 lead, the Saxons had the ball deep in Hawks territory. They needed three yards for a first down and five yards for a touchdown. They also had a field goal blocked in the first half, so taking out Mun again, in this case, was not an option.
But he fell short of the first-down marker, and Hayfield embarked on an 11-play, 97-yard touchdown drive. The Hawks passed only once during the series, and running back David Ackah bulled his way in for a two-yard touchdown with 4 minutes 21 seconds remaining.
Ever the opportunist, Langley — which scored on an 18-yard fumble recovery by Andrew Gentry in the first quarter and capitalized on a fumbled punt return with a Mun touchdown run in the third — soon found itself in good position once more. The Saxons started near midfield after a sizable kickoff return, and after a handful of read-option carries, Mun was ready for one last touch.
Seeing the defensive end expect a quarterback keeper, Casso tucked the ball in Mun’s belly and off he went. Once he’d cleared the edge and gotten past a stray cornerback, it was over.
“We made plays in the end to get it done,” said Langley Coach John Howerton, whose team will face top-seeded Stone Bridge in a semifinal. “It’s a good group. It’s really the best group I’ve coached at Langley.”
With the field cleared and the postgame ceremonies done with, Mun turned around with Howerton and headed back to join just that group. After this night, he needed to celebrate — and maybe get an ice pack.