Despite beating Loudoun County, 35-7, Coach Mickey Thompson and quarterback Nick Smith both were upset with the Park View High School football team's offensive performance Friday night.
The visiting Patriots ran up 227 total yards in building a 28-0 halftime lead against its Class AA Northwestern District rival, yet the offense didn't score after that. Park View's only points in the second half came when Nelson Stickley returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a score.
"We were sloppy, and we had more mishandled balls than in any other game" this season, said Thompson, whose Patriots (9-0, 6-0) clinched at least a tie for the district title.
Smith was equally frustrated and agreed with Thompson's sloppy description.
"They shut us out in the second half. I'm not really happy with the way we played on offense," Smith said of his single-wing attack, which relies upon crisp handoffs, fakes and pitches. "We were sloppy, and our offensive line got tired pushing those big [Loudoun County] guys around."
Fortunately, the Patriots' defense continues to force turnovers and control the line of scrimmage. Park View held the Raiders to 121 yards of total offense and five first downs.
The Patriots took control of the game early in the second quarter when Smith scooped up a Chris Geaneas fumble and returned it to the Raiders 22. Smith then passed to Charles Ramey for 14 yards and connected with Dudinski for an eight-yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead.
"We made a lot of big plays in the first half," Thompson said. "And it was by far our best defensive game of the year."
Smith broke five tackles on a 40-yard run to setup the Patriots' third score, while Stickley rambled 26 yards to set Smith's 10-yard pass to Joe Larson for a 28-0 lead.
Smith also intercepted off a pass and returned it 35 yards to end the first half. For the game, the 6-foot junior accounted for 256 combined yards.
"Our defense likes to hit," Smith said. "And we love to play defense."
Loudoun County Coach Pat McManus may know how to beat Park View, but doesn't know whether anyone in Class AA has the players to do it.
"You have got to overpower them," said McManus, whose team is on the bubble for a playoff spot. "Then you have to have the speed enough to catch them. A couple times I thought we had pretty good angles on them, and we couldn't catch them."
Even if you can slow the Patriots' offense, McManus was puzzled as to how any team would be able to score.
"I think you've got to score at least three touchdowns [to beat Park View]," McManus said of any team that hopes to stop Park View, which has outscored opponents, 365-39, this season. "You have to find a way to throw the ball against them, but their defensive front is so good they can have four people in the secondary to stop that."
Despite an unbeaten record and the area's No. 7 ranking, Smith doesn't think that Park View has played it's best game of the season yet.
"When we put it together on both sides of the ball," Smith said, "it will be amazing."
Grant Harris threw a 19-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the third quarter for Loudoun County's lone score.
Park View 7 21 7 0 -- 35
Loudoun County 0 0 7 0 -- 7
PV -- Stickley 2 run (Develli kick)
PV -- Dudinski 8 pass from Smith (Develli kick)
PV -- Smith 4 run (Develli kick)
PV -- Larson 10 pass from Smith (Develli kick)
PV -- Stickley 88 kickoff return (Develli kick)
LC -- Lincoln 19 pass from Harris (Greenfield kick)
RUSHING -- Park View: Smith 12-98, Stickley 16-76, Larson 4-24, Dudinski 2-19; Loudoun County: Geaneas 15-41, Hughes 11-33, Brown 5-12.
PASSING -- Park View: Smith 9-19-1, 116; Loudoun County: Harris 5-12-1 35.
RECEIVING -- Park View: Dudinski 4-72, Ramey 4-34, Larson 1-10; Loudoun County: Lincoln 2-26, Suarez 2-14, Geaneas 1-(-5).