While watching film of Central-Woodstock quarterback Hayden Bauserman, Loudoun Valley Coach Danny McGrath noticed that teams were simply sitting back as the Virginia Conference 28 offensive player of the year lit up their secondaries.
McGrath made the difficult decision to gamble on defense Saturday in the Virginia 3A East semifinal, sending five or six rushers at the experienced quarterback every down to knock him off balance and force him to think quicker in the pocket.
The gamble paid off as the Vikings intercepted three passes in the first half en route to a 34-6 drubbing of Central on Saturday in Purcellville.
Loudoun Valley (11-2) will host Northside (12-1) in next week’s region final after the Vikings beat Magna Vista, 19-7, in a 3A West semifinal. The 3A bracket re-seeds for the state semifinals.
“Our plan was to make him make decisions, and we didn’t want to sit back and get picked apart,” McGrath said. “He’s a good quarterback. They’ve got players around him and they were a tough team to prepare for. Our guys just set the bar high for themselves and reached it.”
Senior Marcus Oden intercepted a pass on the game’s first drive after the ball was deflected, but the Vikings were forced to punt after a three-and-out. On the next play, senior Matt Regan read Bauserman’s eyes, grabbed the pass out of the air and took it 15 yards for the game’s first score.
“I did what the coaches taught us,” Regan said. “I shuffled him inside and just looked for anything coming out, and it just happened to be right there. Our defense has always been a solid part of our team so we just stepped it up today.”
Loudoun Valley held Bauserman to 146 passing yards, flushing him out of the pocket time and time again.
Central (10-3) had 10 possessions, but crossed midfield only four times.
Offensively, Vikings running back Brandon Grayson was nearly unstoppable out of the Wildcat formation. He ran for 149 yards on just six carries and scored on two separate runs of 66 yards in the first half.
“I was just doing my reads, and they had one corner on the side I was set to run on,” Grayson said. “On the first play I scored [on], we just put that in this week. We weren’t sure how it would go.”
Loudoun Valley has now won a school-record 11 games, and the Vikings were rewarded with a trophy after the game for winning their half of the region tournament bracket.
But McGrath told his team that this wasn’t the trophy they were looking for.
“We have four quarters of football guaranteed, but we can possibly play four more,” McGrath said. “Let’s make it our best.”