* Loudoun County 35,

Loudoun Valley 0

Loudoun County easily could have decided its season ended with last week's loss at Stone Bridge, which left the Raiders' postseason hopes near extinction. They could have lined up and played without much passion the final two weeks. Luckily for them, their last two games of the season require little motivation.

Loudoun County's diverse running game returned to the form it showed when it won its first four games with awe-inspiring numbers. In a 35-0 victory at home, the Raiders out-rushed the Vikings, 505-59. The win helped the Raiders forget about the three losses in their previous four games, at least temporarily.

More important, however, Loudoun County (6-3, 2-2 AA Dulles District) found it did not need the AA Division 3 playoffs as an impetus for a strong performance.

"Valley has been our rival for almost 50 years, so we had to play hard against our arch rival," Loudoun County senior fullback-linebacker Josh Ashby said. "You can't lose to your arch rival. I don't care if we're 0-9. This is the game that counts."

Loudoun County's players knew that they not only needed to defeat Loudoun Valley (2-7, 1-3) Friday night and Park View next week to reach the playoffs but that they also needed plenty of help from other teams.

"If this doesn't work out for us, then we treat next week as a playoff game," said Raiders Coach Pat McManus, whose team has not defeated Park View since the opening week of the 1995 season.

Facing an opponent in Loudoun Valley more comparable in size, Loudoun County mixed its plays very well, balancing the hard inside running of Ashby (156 yards, one touchdown) with the speedier outside gains from sophomore Gil Veney (season-high 148 yards, one touchdown) and junior Aaron Huber (64 yards, two touchdowns).

Loudoun County controled the ball for nearly 15 minutes in the first half, when it piled up 16 first downs to Loudoun Valley's two.

"We still have a chance to make the playoffs, so we shouldn't throw the season away," Veney said. McManus told the team before the game, " 'I don't have to say anything. This is Valley. I don't have to get people up for this one.' "

Loudoun Valley had played well against tougher opponents. The Vikings lost by two to Handley, were tied with Stone Bridge at halftime and trailed Park View 7-0 at the break.

The Vikings, however, were never in this game. Loudoun County scored on each of its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.

"For as well as we've played against quality opponents," Loudoun Valley Coach Bruce Sheppard said, "this was not a good effort from us."