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The Loudoun Report: Brownlee hurt, Jessop shines

By Matt Brooks
Tuesday, August 31, 2010; 5:58 PM

Football kicked off Friday night around the region and nine Loudoun teams opened their seasons under the bright lights. The first slate of games included a pair of nail-biting defensive struggles, a few blowouts and plenty of breakthrough performances from new faces around the county. Here are a few highlights from Week 1.

McSorely comes through in the clutch

Coming into the season, the gameplan for Briar Woods was to giving opposing defenses a heavy dose of tailback Michael Brownlee. The 5-7, 190-pound senior produced a whopping 552 yards and seven touchdowns on 93 carries in the team's final three games of the 2009 season - all wins - and figured to be the focal point of the offense once again this fall. But on his first carry of the season Friday at Millbrook, Brownlee broke his leg in a pileup, forcing the Falcons to look elsewhere for an offensive spark.

"We had to change our gameplan a little bit," Briar Woods Coach Charlie Pierce said.

Freshman quarterback Trace McSorely completed 16 of 31 passes for 170 yards and Mark Leith's 1-yard plunge gave the Falcons a 7-0 halftime lead. But a safety followed by a Curtis Dailey-to-Boomer Kaczmarzewski touchdown pass in the fourth quarter put the home Pioneers up by two points with time winding down.

McSorely - who threw an interception on a bad read early on - led the Falcons down the field on a long drive in the final minutes to set up David Clements's 20-yard game-winning field goal with 10 seconds left to claim a 10-8 victory.

"We really had to scramble with Michael out of the game and then our backup tailback, Ryan Bumbray went down with a foot injury," said Pierce, whose team lost its first four games last season. "To go on that drive with a freshman quarterback and a JV running back and have David kick the game-winner right down the middle, it really showed our guys what they are capable of doing this year."

Jessop shines in new role

The past few seasons the Broad Run offense has relied heavily on the legs of talented running backs like Breon Earl or All-Met T.J. Peeler. But in Matt Griffis's new single wing offense, the pressure is on junior quarterback Connor Jessop to develop into a runner who can still air it out.

Friday night against Fauquier, Jessop showed just how much progress he's already made, leading the 13th-ranked Spartans in rushing with six carries for 57 yards and completing 9 of 11 passes for 173 yards and all three scores as Broad Run won its 31st consecutive regular season contest, 21-0.

All three touchdown passes went for more than 20 yards and two - a first-quarter hook up with Briar Woods transfer Steven Fields and fourth-quarter connection to Caleb Lindsey - went for more than 40 yards.

Weekend roundup

Loudoun Valley 57, Dominion 7

One year after hammering Dominion in Purcellville in its season opener, Loudoun Valley experienced complete déjà vu, dismantling the Titans in Sterling, 57-7. Senior quarterback Andrew Taylor threw five touchdown passes (11 of 18, 189 yards) and senior David Mellstrom did a little bit of everything to lead the Vikings. After putting Valley on the board with an 85-yard kickoff return for a score, Mellstrom caught a pair of touchdown passes from Taylor and also returned a punt 75 yards for another touchdown. Deandre Reaves rushed for 145 yards on 21 carries and scored the only touchdown for the Titans who threw four interceptions and lost two of their five fumbles on the night.

Potomac Falls 14, Jefferson (W.Va.) 7

Marquis Vasciannie scored the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard run with six minutes left to give first-year head coach Mike Gims and the Panthers a confidence-building win to start the year.

Sherando 35, Park View 32

Alec Dombkowski threw two of his three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and ran for another as the Patriots stormed back from a 28-10 deficit with six minutes left to close to within 28-25. But Park View's furious rally fell short as the Warriors scored late to put the game away. It was the second straight year Sherando edged the Patriots in their season opener by three points.

Loudoun County 14, Musselman (W.Va.) 13

Junior quarterback Marcus Crews completed 18 of 26 passes for 210 yards including a 70-yard second-half touchdown pass to Jack Reimers that proved the be the difference as the Raiders won their season opener across the border.

Tuscarora 33, Woodgrove 21

In a battle of first-year Loudoun schools, Cameron Molina rushed for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Huskies past the Wolverines in Leesburg. Read the full story here.

Stat of the night

Loudoun Valley senior WR/DB David Mellstrom scored four touchdowns in the Vikings' 57-7 rout of Dominion. He opened the game with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, later returned a punt 75-yards for a score and added a pair of touchdown receptions from senior quarterback Andrew Taylor who had five in the game.

Quote of the night

"Our season could turn out entirely different if we don't win that game. But now this young group of guys has the experience and confidence of coming back and winning. They've done it. It's hard to ask your guys to dig down deep and pull out a win, but now that they've proven they can do it, we can call on them to do it again." - Briar Woods Coach Charlie Pierce on his team's come-from-behind win over Millbrook

Looking ahead

The biggest game in Virginia on Friday pits No. 3 Stone Bridge against No.12 Westfield. Elsewhere, Freedom-South Riding and Heritage open up shop while the rest of the county gets back to work in Week 2.

Here's the schedule for Friday.

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