Liberty was penalized four times for illegal use of the hands for 40 yards in its 16-13 victory over Fauquier. Two of those calls in the first half negated what would have been rushing gains of 36 and 28 yards.
At issue, Coach Tommy Buzzo later explained, was the way Liberty was blocking against spin moves by Fauquier's defensive linemen.
"You're allowed to block through a spin move, allowed to keep your hands on the player across his back as he spins," Buzzo said. "But the officials said that we were disengaging our hands and then re-engaging, and that was the reason for the calls."
Liberty was cited for eight penalties totaling 75 yards in the first half. In the second half, after addressing the problem in the locker room, the Eagles committed just two penalties for 15 yards.
Stephen Sheehan had a memorable debut as the starting quarterback for Loudoun Valley. Moving over from wide receiver and playing the position older brother John held last season, Sheehan ran for 93 yards and passed for 48 in a little more than two quarters in leading the Vikings to a 53-7 victory over visiting James Wood.
"I never figured that," Loudoun Valley Coach Bruce Sheppard said of the score. "They have some good athletes. We really felt they were improved this year. We just got some early momentum. I think they're probably a better team than they ended up showing."
Sheppard said he was particularly pleased with the play of the special teams. Kicker Brock Bell converted a 35-yard field goal just before halftime for a 24-0 lead, and the kickoff team recovered an onside kick early in the first quarter.
One of the few blemishes on the victory was 90 yards in penalties. Loudoun Valley had one touchdown called back for holding and another for an illegal formation.
"That's something we're going to have to correct," Sheppard said.
Many Happy Returns
Dominion got two defensive scores in its 34-0 home victory over first-year Battlefield. Cameron Hadnot returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, and Chris Nduku returned another interception 40 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
-- Angie Watts and Gene Wang