In the third quarter of Friday’s matchup between Purcellville rivals Woodgrove and Loudoun Valley, Wolverines linebacker Brett Nesselrodt back-pedaled into his zone and suddenly felt a pass hit him square in the chest. Nesselrodt wrapped both hands around the ball and raced 38 yards down the sideline for a defensive touchdown in Woodgrove’s 35-0 romp.
It was the perfect cap on a night on which the Wolverines held Loudoun Valley (8-2) to 66 yards of total offense. The win also gave Woodgrove (7-3) its first Dulles District title.
It was the fifth shutout of the season for a Wolverines defense that has held opponents to 12.7 points per game — the ideal complement to an offense averaging 31 points per game.
“We’ve been kind of overlooked because Josh Sweet and the offense are so spectacular,” Nesselrodt said. “This game we showed we could play at a high level as well with the goose egg on the scoreboard.”
Along with his interception, Nesselrodt added a sack, a tackle for a loss and five tackles.
During the week leading up to the game, “Beat Valley” posters were hanging throughout the school and fans flocked in droves to support the Wolverines on Friday at Valley. When the game was over, they rushed the field to celebrate the district title with the team.
“It was a great team effort, we had a great scheme going into this week,” Nesselrodt said. “We knew what their keys were, and our coach prepared us very well. We were really focused because it was a rivalry game we wanted to prove that we could shut down that offense.”
Woodgrove enters Friday’s 4A North region playoff with a three-game winning streak and will host Loudoun County (5-5) Friday at 7 p.m. The Raiders were the last team to defeat Woodgrove on a Caleb Hilgartner field goal with just seconds left in a 31-28 County win on Oct. 18.
“They’re really well coached and they throw the ball around really well,” Woodgrove Coach Mike Skinner said. “It’s not the best first-round draw, but you have to play them all. We’re just glad we have them at our place. It should be a heck of game.”
Tuscarora starting running back Noah Reimers (1,409 yards, 15 TDs) suffered a concussion in Friday’s loss at Briar Woods. The junior picked up 24 yards on 13 carries in the game, but in the third quarter he was on the sideline receiving concussion testing.
Reimers said he didn’t recall if a particular play caused the grogginess, but he did say he felt weird on the downs he played in the second half. He hopes to be back for the Huskies’ 5A North quarterfinal if they can get past Mount Vernon (3-7) at home Friday in their postseason opener.