Loudoun County (4-2, 6-3) at Loudoun Valley (2-4, 5-4)
Last meeting: Sept. 3. Loudoun Valley won, 28-21, in overtime.
Key for the Raiders: Blocking. Last week against Park View, the Raiders were held to less than 100 yards rushing for the first time in three years, and Coach Pat McManus placed a large chunk of the blame on inconsistent blocking. Against Loudoun Valley, the Raiders will need to move the ball in order to keep the Vikings' Ben Cross off the field. "We've got to score and keep the ball for long periods of time, and that should do it," McManus said.
Key for the Vikings: The short passing game. Last week, senior quarterback Anthony Long had his best game of the year, completing 10 of 13 passes for 155 yards, and it helped Loudoun Valley move the ball consistently against Warren County's defense. Ben Cross may be the best running back in the district, but if the passing game is ineffective, the Raiders could key on him and contain the Vikings offense. "I still think [Loudoun County] has the best defensive front we've seen this year," Vikings Coach Mike Barton said.
Notable: The Vikings have lost linebacker and running back B.J. Strother to a dislocated toe, which probably will
force the junior to miss the rest of the season. Strother is the ninth player the team has lost to injury this season, according to Barton.
Broad Run (2-7, 1-5) at Park View (9-0, 6-0)
Last meeting: Nov. 6, 1998: Park View won, 53-6.
Key for the Spartans: Don't fall behind early. Last week, Broad Run yielded 21 points to Liberty in the first quarter, then played even with the Eagles for the rest of the game, Spartans Coach Ken Belchik said. "It's been happening most of the year," he said. Against the seventh-ranked Patriots, climbing out of an early hole will be even harder. "Their offense chews up the clock, and no one's been able to say that," Belchik said of Park View.
Key for the Patriots: Continued improvement for the defense. Coach Mickey Thompson says he is excited about the play of his defensive line and linebackers over the past few weeks, particularly LB Joey Weisen, DEs Jonathan Petrie and Jeff McDonald and DT Andrew Hoffman. "We're forcing a lot more three-and-outs and not giving up the big plays," Thompson said.
Notable: Weisen, a junior, has recovered two fumbles this year and forced two more. He also has 73 first-hits and 50 assists, both team highs.
Culpeper (5-0, 9-0) at Fauquier (3-2, 5-4)
Last meeting: Sept. 11, 1998. Culpeper won, 24-21.
Key for the Falcons: Establish the run, which has helped Fauquier score 85 points in its last two games. Ferrell concedes that "no one's going to stop [Culpeper's] offense," which has scored 314 points this season. "What gets lost in all the talk about Culpeper's offense is their defense, which is outstanding," Ferrell said. "They have good size on the line. They have good speed in the secondary. We're going to have to try and get a first down here, a first down there, and keep their offense off the field."
Notable: Fauquier has lost three straight to Culpeper, which will clinch the first seed in the AAA Northwestern Region Division 5 playoffs with a victory.
Potomac Falls (3-3, 5-4) at Liberty (2-4, 2-7)
Last meeting: First meeting.
Key for the Panthers: Success passing. Quarterback Jason Treon had a subpar game in the team's 35-7 loss to Handley last week, completing just five of 15 passes and two interceptions.
Key for the Eagles: Build on last week's 35-12 win over Broad Run. Granted, the Spartans aren't that good, but the results contain the playbook for a season-ending Liberty win: The Eagles jumped out to a three-touchdown lead in the first quarter, the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and the defense gave the offense good field possession.
Notable: There are historical implications for both teams. Potomac Falls is trying to equal its 6-4 record from last year, its best in the school's three-year history. Liberty, on the other hand, is trying to avoid its worst season. The Eagles went 3-7 in 1994, when the school opened, but haven't had another losing season since.
CAPTION: In teams' last game, Vikings' Mickey Pullen, left, Coy Lemmert stop Chris Hughes, Raiders in overtime, 28-21.
WR Justin Mathias, Liberty, Jr., vs. Broad Run: Caught a 55-yard pass from junior QB Kurt Iverson that helped to set up a first-quarter touchdown for the Eagles. It was Mathias's only catch of the game.
LB Joe Larson, Park View, Sr., at Loudoun County: Playing the position for the first time since his freshman year (he has played defensive tackle this season), Larson had a sack, a fumble recovery, four first-hits and four assists in Park View's 35-7 win over Loudoun County on Friday night.
BY THE NUMBERS
Points Fauquier has scored in the past two weeks against Stafford and Sherando. In the Falcons' seven previous games they scored a combined 80 points.
Number of games this season Park View quarterback Nick Smith has accounted for at least three touchdowns, including last week's win against Loudoun County. Smith, a junior, has passed for 16 touchdowns and rushed for 11 TDs this season.
Number of games Loudoun Valley's Ben Cross has rushed for 100 yards, including all nine this season. He has also rushed for 200 yards six times.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
AA Northwestern District
Handley 35, Potomac Falls 7
Liberty 35, Broad Run 12
Loudoun Valley 27, Warren County 8
Park View 35, Loudoun County 7
AAA Commonwealth District
Culpeper 14, Brooke Point 7
Fauquier 42, Sherando 28
North Stafford 56, James Wood 21
Potomac 20, Stafford 13
AA Northwestern District
Broad Run at Park View, 7:30
Loudoun County at Loudoun Valley, 7:30
Potomac Falls at Liberty, 7:30
AAA Commonwealth District
Culpeper at Fauquier, 7:30
North Stafford at Stafford, 7:30
Osbourn at Brooke Point, 7:30