In Sunday's Prince William Extra
Woodbridge falls to 0-3, but don't count out the Vikings
As frustrated Woodbridge football players trudged out of the school Thursday night after a 21-14 loss to Stafford that dropped the team to 0-3 for the first time since 2000, the Vikings vowed to focus on the next seven games and not lament the previous three.
Senior linebacker Abraham Quarcoo thinks there might be some value in looking back. Not to the recent losses to Loudoun Valley, No. 9 Colonial Forge and Stafford but to the 2007 Woodbridge team that started 1-2, crept to 3-3 and later blossomed into Virginia AAA Northwest Region Division 6 champions and state runners-up to undefeated Westfield.
Quarcoo was a late-season varsity call-up that year. He doesn't see why this team can't do what that team did.
"We're 0-3. Kids are mad, and immaturity is showing," Quarcoo said. "But there are some kids in there still showing leadership who still have that drive and willingness to win. So I still believe we're still in this."
The Vikings, who went unbeaten the past two regular seasons and have a six-year streak of reaching the playoffs, fumbled at the Stafford 34-yard line on their first possession but later mounted a seven-minute, 74-yard touchdown drive. They went up 14-7 in the final minute of the first half when sophomore Logan Farrar returned an interception 67 yards for a score. Their opening drive of the second half stalled at the Stafford 15-yard line.
But the most crucial plays came in the last seven minutes of the game. Woodbridge faced fourth and 15 at the Stafford 40-yard line with a chance to pin the Indians deep. The Vikings instead ran a fake punt that gained five yards.
Stafford, which lost 41-0 to Woodbridge last year, scored the tying touchdown five plays later, recovered a squib kick that ricocheted off a Viking, and scored again with 1 minute 46 seconds left. In spoiling the Vikings' home opener, Stafford snapped what the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star reported was an 0-29-1 skid in the series.
"We're not making plays and the other teams are," said first-year Woodbridge Coach Kevin Smith, who took over the program midway through last season on an interim basis. "Once we start jelling together and making plays, everything's going to come together okay.
"We either have to come back together or we're going to fall apart. It's on the players. It's on the coaches. It's all 55 of us turning this around. We have to get the ball rolling the right way before the season gets out of control."
The Vikings totaled 151 rushing yards in the first half and 48 in the second. Farrar showed his versatility, with 10 carries for 52 yards, two catches, a 19-yard completion and the interception return. Sophomore Jaylen Avent ran for 49 yards and a score and caught two passes. Woodbridge racked up 105 yards in penalties.
"Everybody has to show up," Vikings senior quarterback Corey Taylor said. "Not everybody's there. Some people are showing up and some people are not. It's different every game."
The Vikings host Stonewall Jackson (0-4) on Friday, and other than unbeaten Hylton, none of their remaining opponents has a winning record. The Cardinal District opener is Oct. 1 at home against Forest Park.
Instead of propping themselves up with memories of the previous two unbeaten regular seasons, the Woodbridge seniors will try to tap into whatever quality those 2007 state runner-up Vikings had.
"That team showed leadership and got the team together and started motivating them to do better," Quarcoo said. "I believe we have the same attributes. Woodbridge football is always going to be Woodbridge football. We can still do it again."