Loudoun County relies on the spread; Hayfield makes habit of dramatic endings

October 1, 2012

Loudoun County found very little to like from its offensive play two weeks ago in a frustrating 21-7 loss to Tuscarora.

But the Raiders’ lone successful drive on an otherwise dismal night gave them a glimpse of what they can do when their spread offense is clicking.

A perennial run-first team, Loudoun County focused on its aerial attack against previously unbeaten Woodgrove, and quarterback Jake Lokey responded with a career night. The senior completed 12 of 19 passes for 235 yards and five touchdowns as the Raiders blasted the Wolverines 48-7 romp in Purcellville.

“We had one drive against Tuscarora where we only used the spread and that worked for us,” Lokey said. “We didn’t really know that our pass game would work as well as it did, but it was worth trying. Now I think you’ll see us using more balance.”

Lokey’s five touchdown strikes came in succession with the first three going to big-play receiver Brad Szoka , who scored on passes of 17, 10 and 46 yards to bring his season total to seven touchdown receptions. Lokey had not eclipsed 160 yards passing this fall and the touchdown count nearly doubled his season total (11).

The Wolverines (5-1) came into the contest averaging nearly 52 points per game and had given up only 28 combined. But the third-year team was largely untested in its non-district schedule, and the Raiders (4-1) came in fuming after their loss to Tuscarora and desperate to remain in the hunt for a district title.

Loudoun County’s defense was also much improved as it shut the Wolverines out through three quarters while slowing Josh Sweet, who still finished with 185 rushing yards on 32 carries.

“That was a must win for us. We’re not going to accept losing and we knew that if we went down two games behind Briar Woods, it was going to be hard to get back up,” Lokey said. “We came out hungry and we just played well all around. It was a huge win for us.”

Dominion’s Valenzuela emerges

At 6-3, and 220 pounds, Dominion’s Matt Valenzuela is a load to bring down, and this fall, the senior running back is becoming the Titans’ most dangerous offensive weapon. Valenzuela scored on a 25-yard touchdown run and a 17-yard reception to help the Titans edge Park View 20-15 in a meeting of Route 7 Sterling rivals on Friday. He now has six total touchdowns on the year to go with his 204 rushing yards and 284 receiving yards on 22 catches.

The win moves the Titans (2-3, 2-2) into the middle of the pack in the AA Dulles District — an already marked improvement after their winless 2011.

Despite the loss, which dropped them to 0-6, Park View found positives on Friday. The Patriots scored their first points of the season on Isam Shaban’s touchdown pass to Eduardo Avelar and used a 40-yard field goal from Daniel Boyce and a late Ryan Duncan touchdown run to give the Titans a scare.

Hayfield-Centreville goes down to the wire

Hayfield would have been content to kick the extra point and force a second overtime at Centreville on Friday. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Centreville moved the ball to the one-and-a-half yard line.

So instead of kicking, Hayfield opted to try to punch in a two-point conversion to sneak off with a road victory against the favored Wildcats.

Centreville instead stuffed a run by 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior quarterback Ellis Knudson and escaped with a 17-16 win over the Hawks, who have now dropped three straight games, by a total of 15 points, to teams that are 13-2.

“It looked like we got in, but you’ve got to make it obvious, I guess,” said Hayfield Coach Roy Hill, whose team this season has played four games decided in the final minute. “When you get the opportunity, you have to take advantage of it.”

The Hawks held Centreville’s offense without a touchdown in regulation and moved into position to tie or win the game after junior Osman Kargbo scored in overtime.

Hayfield senior linebacker Nathan Trebach had 19 tackles.

West Springfield guts one out

West Springfield had to score late and then intercept a pass to beat W.T. Woodson, 14-10, to improve to 4-1 and prevent the Cavaliers from winning their first game this season.

Down 10-7, West Springfield scored with about four minutes left when seniors Tyler Sutter and Nathan Conquest hooked up for a 14-yard touchdown pass.

With about 40 seconds to play, West Springfield sophomore Trent Brown, a reserve who plays in obvious passing situations, picked off a throw inside his 5-yard line to preserve the victory.

“[The game] really brought some character out,” West Springfield Coach J.T. Biddison said. “On that last drive, a couple of defensive linemen didn’t give them time to throw the ball. It was nice to see the sideline coming together. You don’t want it to come down to the last second, but a win is a win.”

The Spartans played without their two leading tacklers, who were out with minor injuries. Senior defensive end Matt Ahola had two sacks.

Biddison, a 1984 Woodson graduate, said he had a jarring reminder Friday night of how the years have flown by. The player who scored for Woodson, junior receiver Jimmy McLaughlin, is the son of one of Biddison’s former Woodson teammates.

The Cavaliers dropped to 0-5, but their last two games have been decided by a total of seven points.

Forest Park’s Williams shows his speed

The good news for Forest Park junior Mustaqeem Williams is that an opponent finally kicked to him Friday and he returned punts 71 and 35 yards for touchdowns in a 24-0 win over Freedom-Woodbridge.

The bad news is that based on that performance, the All-Met sprinter might not be kicked to for the rest of the season, which is pretty much how the first half of the season went for him.

“We put him back there, but nobody kicks to him,” Forest Park Coach David Coccoli said. “I think he’s had only two kickoff returns this year and only two or three punt returns. It’s very frustrating for him.

“That’s where he ‘made his money’ last year and he knows he can’t show what he can do. He was happy after the game I know, for sure.”

The three losses for Forest Park (2-4) have been to teams that are a combined 14-2. The second half of the schedule includes only one team (Woodbridge) with a winning record.

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