Loudoun County High School football coach Pat McManus thanked his offense for giving him sound advice late in the fourth quarter Friday night.
And on that advice, the Raiders switched to a power running game, and Chris Geaneas's two-yard plunge with 46 seconds to play lifted Loudoun County past Liberty, 19-15, in a Virginia AA Northwestern District game.
"I didn't know if I wanted to risk a fumbled snap down there, and I thought maybe we should kick the darned ball and take the points [on a field goal]," McManus said, recalling his decision.
"[The offense] said, 'No, no, no. . . . We can get it in,' " McManus said.
His players were right.
"Sometimes as coaches we try to get too smart out there," McManus said. "Maybe we should listen to the kids more often. And on that last drive, we got back to basics. We went chest to chest with [Liberty's] line, blocked down and moved the ball when we needed to."
Trailing 15-13, Loudoun County took over with 4 minutes 58 seconds to play, and the Raiders' power running game marched 62 yards in nine plays for the game's final score, highlighted by sophomore Terance Brown's 30-yard scamper.
Brown rushed for 67 yards on seven carries and also gave the Raiders excellent field position several times with two punt returns totaling 43 yards and a 49-yard kickoff return.
"He's a water bug out there," McManus said of the 5-foot-7, 145-pound sophomore. "We've been patient with him, but he's getting better."
After Geaneas's score, Liberty, thanks to a 40-yard catch and run by Matt Childress, moved the ball to the Raiders 30 with 16 seconds left. On the next play, Childress briefly controlled Kurt Iverson's pass in the end zone before it was knocked away by Grant Harris. Myles Buie then sacked Iverson to end the game.
"We lost to Loudoun Valley on a Hail Mary like that with 16 seconds to play earlier this year," McManus recalled. "We couldn't have that happen again. We needed that last drive, and now we're believing that we're a pretty good football team."
Liberty (1-7) took its two-point lead on the first play of the fourth quarter when senior Sean Lewis took a pitch and ran 14 yards for a score. Childress, as the holder, then took the extra-point snap, faked and sprinted for the right pylon to make it 15-13.
Raiders junior Chris Hughes gained 143 yards on 25 carries, caught a 14-yard touchdown pass and had an interception for Loudoun County (6-2, 3-1), which hosts unbeaten Park View this Friday.
Liberty 7 0 0 8--10
Loudoun County 7 6 0 6--19
L--Childress 28 pass from Iverson (Kahn kick)
LC--Hughes 14 pass from Harris (Greenfield kick)
LC--FG Greenfield 20
LC--FG Greenfield 32
L--Lewis 14 run (Childress run)
LC--Geaneas 2 run (run failed)
RUSHING--Liberty: Lewis 7-58, Hull 10-42, Bennett 1-27; Loudoun County: Hughes 25-143, Geaneas 19-81, Brown 7-67.
PASSING--Liberty: Iverson 11-28-1 169; Loudoun County: Harris 3-7-1 36.
RECEIVING--Liberty: Childress 4-92, Carroll 3-47, Bennett 3-27; Loudoun County: Hughes 1-14, Brown 1-14.
CAPTION: Carl Bennett (29) of Liberty can't quite elude the outstretched arm of Loudoun County's Mike Zebe on Friday night.