Weekend walk-through: Virginia

Former Robinson receiver Matt Zanellato uprooted his life -- his parents purchased a new home -- so that he could join cross-town rival Lake Braddock and pass-happy QB Michael Nebrich. The move has paid dividends for Zanellato, a 6-foot-4 target that is one of the area's leading receivers. Zanellato takes on his former team Friday night at Lake Braddock. The Post's Paul Tenorio joins B.J. Koubaroulis in studio to break down the big game. Highlights and interviews.
By Paul Tenorio, Matt Brooks and Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 30, 2010; 4:32 PM

Northern Region game to watch: South Lakes (4-0) at McLean (4-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

South Lakes is no stranger to fast starts. Last season, the Seahwaks opened 5-1 before dropping their final five games. That unraveling has given new coach Andy Hill an easy teachable moment with the Seahawks (4-0) traveling to McLean (4-0) for their first true test of the season.

"We keep it as learning lesson to stay focused and get better every week, but we don't want to keep referring to it like it's imminent or on the horizon," Hill said. "We're trying to treat this like game five. If we don't win, we're still in contention for a district championship. It'll be harder, but we're still in contention. All our goals don't end," with a loss.

Hill, who came from Park View, brought a new spread offense to Reston that has made the Seahawks' attack look dominant at times. The Seahawks have outscored opponents 156-16, but those four opponents have won just three games between them this season.

Behind Hill's inventive offensive schemes, a Seahawks roster deep with skill-position players has thrived. Hill's biggest challenge may be finding ways to keep all of the playmakers involved.

Darius Smith is an explosive wing back and receiver who is perhaps most dangerous in the return game - he has taken three punt returns back for touchdowns and teams often kick away from him. Ja'Juan Jones (190 total yards, five touchdowns) is a threat in the backfield, as is quarterback Rashaan Jones (353 yards passing, three touchdowns; 140 yards rushing, one touchdown), Ja'Juan's brother. Wide receiver Sean Price (221 yards rushing, three touchdowns; 264 yards receiving, two touchdowns) has big-play ability.

"We've got to spread it out," Hill said. "It's not an obligation to get a kid touches but we're not big up front, we're not going to run you over, so we have to spread it out and that might give us the edge."

Around the Northern Region

Two districts collide this week, with three undefeated Concorde District teams traveling east to take on National District opponents. No. 14 Oakton (4-0) pays a visit to Edison (1-2), whose offense put together its most complete offensive performance of the year with over 200 rushing and passing yards, sparked by speedy quarterback Kurtis Thorpe in a 40-13 win over Wakefield last week. ... No. 16 Centreville (4-0), who had their biggest scare of the year last week playing from behind against South County, visits a Mount Vernon (2-2) team that has surprised many in the district with close back-to-back wins. ... Hayfield (2-2) hosts a strong Chantilly (4-0) team led by a tough duo of running backs Jimmy Hicks (456 yards and seven touchdowns) and William Hill-Pensamiento (423 and four touchdowns), and a dangerous quarterback Carson Romine (417 passing yards and five touchdowns).

Loudoun game to watch: Broad Run (5-0) at Briar Woods (3-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Charlie Pierce knows the single-wing offense. The Briar Woods Coach saw it first hand as a defensive coordinator at Loudoun County and then dabbled in it himself after taking over for Mickey Thompson - the architecht of the most dominant single-wing offense in the state - at Park View from 2000-04.

Pierce also knows how to stop the single wing. At Park View, he split four matchups with Thompson's Stone Bridge teams before the Bulldogs moved to the AAA Northern Region. So when longtime Stone Bridge offensive coordinator and first-year Broad Run head coach Matt Griffis brings his patented playbook to Brambleton Friday night, there won't be many surprises. But the Falcons still must prove they can stop the top rushing attack in the AA Dulles District. Through five games the No. 11 Spartans (5-0) are averaging 281.4 rushing yards per game on 6.8 yards per carry with 18 of their 27 touchdowns coming on the ground.

"Broad Run hangs its hat on that power run game between the tackles, and until you stop them, they're going to run it right down your throat," Pierce said. "I've told our front seven that the key is staying home, taking care of your gap responsibilities and not getting sucked into all the razzle-dazzle stuff that's going on behind the line of scrimmage."

Those responsibilities belong to Briar Woods' 3-4 front of nose guard Gabe Sosa, defensive ends Justin Baker and Josh Hall and linebackers Brandon Moore, Zach Pierce, DeVontae O'Bannion and Matt Rolin. Together that unit has established itself as a run-stopping machine, holding five opponents to 179 rushing yards on 156 attempts - good for a 1.1 yards per carry average.

"We will have more difficulty on offense against them, I'm sure," Griffis said. "Coach Pierce has faced this offense before, so it should be a battle."

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