* Brentsville 20, Madison County 14
On any other chilly night, maybe Brentsville junior running back Stuart Crane would have huddled around the heater on the sideline, like many of the Tigers' other reserves. But not Friday. With top rusher Wes Basham out with a knee injury, Crane was too busy lifting the offense to even notice that there was a heater available during the Tigers' 20-14 win over Madison County.
"I didn't see it until the end of the game, actually," said the 5-foot-6, 150-pound Crane, who generated plenty of warmth on his own by carrying the ball 27 times for 120 yards -- almost doubling his season total of 134 yards -- subbing for Basham (636 yards).
"He's never had to put on the big pair of shoes," Brentsville Coach Dean Reedy said. "We've done different things with him defensively, and moved him around, and never did he once question it. He's taken the role that he's been given early in the season behind some of the other backs, being a fill-in. He's never put his head down. There was an opportunity tonight for him to shine, and he did a tremendous job."
The first thing the Tigers (6-1, 2-0 Bull Run District) had to do to prepare for Madison (2-7, 1-3) was forget their invigorating 29-19 win the previous week over Strasburg, the first in the series since 1983. Posted throughout the Brentsville locker room Friday were enlarged photocopied newspaper quotes from Strasburg Coach Glenn Proctor gushing about how impressed he had been with the Tigers. But it was Reedy who had the final word.
"Before the game, you could tell that the guys were still on a high from winning that game," Brentsville senior lineman John Jackson said. "Reedy showed us this [quote] and ripped it off the board and said: That's baloney. We have to get focused for this game because that's in the past. They teach a subject in school about that. Called history."
The crash history lesson did not sink in immediately. Madison County scored on a 65-yard catch and run from senior Brandon Deane to senior Cody Robinson just three minutes into the game.
"After that first long touchdown, I think we woke up a little bit," Brentsville senior quarterback Sam Huff said. "We knew it was going to be a tough game in the first place, but we knew for real after that."
On the subsequent possession, Crane carried eight times on a 12-play drive and scored from two yards out. The score remained tied until the beginning of the second half, when the Tigers mounted a seven-minute jaunt capped by a seven-yard play-action pass from Huff to junior Tommy Knoll.
After interceptions in the fourth quarter by Brentsville seniors Dan Heiser and Kyle House, Huff scored virtually untouched on a 27-yard keeper to seemingly ice the win, but Robinson returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards with 2:33 left to make it 20-14.
The Mountaineers, held to 55 yards on 22 carries, could not recover their onside kick, and the Tigers, performing in front of their home crowd for the first time since Sept. 20, drained the clock and celebrated their sixth victory, doubling last season's win total.
For Brentsville, it was the first of three games in a span of eight days. Next up is George Mason at home Tuesday, then Manassas Park on the road Friday. The Tigers are undeterred about playing a basketball-like football schedule with games stacked up after the sniper attack postponements.
"It's always fun to play a game instead of practice," Huff said.