Tuscarora, Forest Park start 2-0; Da’Shawn Hand back on offensive line at Woodbridge

Video: Woodbridge gets its first win of the season over Osbourn Park 26-22. The Vikings scored two touchdowns on punt returns, and Da'Shawn Hand dominated on defense.

Unquestioningly, Noah Klemm is the less-mentioned Noah. He’s never rushed for a touchdown, and he’s never stood out from the pack with his downhill brand of running.

But Tuscarora’s junior center is the man pulling the strings for the Huskies’ pistol offense. And nothing gets done without the puppeteer.

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Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from the weekend of football in D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.

Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from the weekend of football in D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.

“If you don’t have a good center in the pistol offense, it won’t work,” said Noah Reimers, the Huskies starting running back.

It sure worked Friday, as Tuscarora (2-0) took down Loudoun rival Woodgrove 21-14 in Leesburg. Reimers carried 24 times for 191 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Center play is key, says Reimers, because of the tricky timing required by the abbreviated shotgun formation.

“If they can’t get the snap back there in time, it doesn’t matter who you have at quarterback or running back because they can’t get the ball,” he said. “Noah Klemm does that for us.”

Reimers — who deflects accolades and credit the same way he does oncoming defenders – is still finding ways to pleasantly surprise Tuscarora Coach Mike Burnett.

“He always seems to make the first person miss,” Burnett said. “I can’t think of one time that one guy gets him to the ground.”

Rush’s interception return highlights Bruins’ historic start

On Battlefield’s fifth play from scrimmage, Forest Park strong safety Wesley Rush lined up about five yards off the ball, directly over his defensive end. One final time before the snap, the senior mentally dissected the route trees available to the Bobcat receivers.

Then he made Bruins’ football history.

Rush intercepted a Matt Gallagher pass near the sideline and sprinted 36 yards for a touchdown – the only score in Forest Park’s 7-0 upending of Battlefield Friday.

“I saw the tight end pop straight up to pass block,” Rush said. “When I saw that, I dropped back into my hook curl. . . . I caught the ball, and I ran as fast as I could to the end zone.”

This is the fastest start — ever — for a Forest Park football team. Friday’s shutout marks the first time the Bruins have started 2-0. It’s also the program’s solitary win over Battlefield.

“We’ve definitely turned the corner, but we’re still not where I’d like us to be,” Forest Park Coach David Coccoli said. “There’s still some room for improvement.”

In Coccoli’s third season at the helm for Manassas Park, the Cougars claimed a district title.

“We’ve still got a tough schedule coming up,” said Coccoli, now in his third year at the Montclair school. “The work has hardly begun.”

But the Bruins’ team chemistry sounds like it’s already pretty far along.

“In my junior year, the skill players would hang out with the skill players, the linemen would hang out with the linemen and all that,” Rush said. “But this year, we’re all actually hanging out with each other.”

Special teams delivers Dede’s first win at Woodbridge

He didn’t ask for much. Before Friday’s game against Osbourn Park, Woodbridge first-year coach Karibi Dede told offensive coordinator Danny White he needed 15 or 16 points from his unit.

That output, the former Auburn and Hylton High standout reckoned, would stand up based on the play of the Vikings’ defense.

Dede erred a bit on the short side with his calculations, but was pleased with the final tabulation as Woodbridge (1-1) outlasted the Yellow Jackets 26-22.

Vikings senior running back LeVar Francis rushed for two scores, and the Vikings blocked a pair of punts, returning both for touchdowns.

“If you give us another week or two, our offense is gonna start to click,” Dede said. “Offense is a lot harder to get going in a first year than defense is.”

Some of the Vikings’ growing pains inside Dede’s system can be attributed to flux on the line. Woodbridge’s identity as an offense can’t be nailed down until those concerns are flushed out.

“I don’t know how open we’ll be able to be [on offense] until we get blocking up front,” said the coach.

One major shakeup in Friday’s game was Da’Shawn Hand’s reinsertion on the offensive line. It was a move Dede was reluctant to make, as he saw Hand’s athleticism as a potential asset from a ball-carrying standpoint.

In a Week 1 loss to Battlefield , Hand lined up primarily at fullback and as a single back flanking quarterback Mike Majette in the shotgun.

“I was avoiding putting Da’Shawn on the offensive line,” Dede said, “because he could be given the ball in various situations.”

 
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