Warren County (1-0)
at Loudoun Valley (1-0)
When: Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
Loudoun Valley defensive linemen Kevin Hayba, Sean Milam, Ben Myers and Jimmy Phillips against Warren County running backs H. B. Banjoman, Demont Craig and Danny Ziemer.
Warren County runs a single wing offense, something that Loudoun Valley usually only sees against Stone Bridge. So it will be key for the Vikings' linemen not only to get good penetration into the backfield but also to stay in position.
"They've got good size and great speed and run an unusual offense, so if we get out of position, they're capable of taking it all the way up the field," Loudoun Valley Coach Bruce Sheppard said.
Outlook: Loudoun Valley's 45-14 victory against Warren County last season wasn't quite as easy as the score suggests. In fact, the Vikings trailed, 14-10, at halftime.
"They're a very well-coached and well-disciplined team," Sheppard said. "They gave us a lot of trouble early on last year, and I expect this to be a heck of a game."
Warren County (1-0 after a 33-14 victory over Luray) is coming off a 6-4 season that marked its first winning season in 26 years. The success, Coach Heath Gilbert said, drew nearly 90 kids out for junior varsity and varsity tryouts and gives the Wildcats the kind of depth they didn't have a year ago.
"I'm almost certain we're going to be able to platoon our guys on the offensive and defensive lines this year," Gilbert said. "And that's a huge advantage in high school football."
But the Wildcats will have to find a way to slow a Vikings team that posted 53-7 victory over James Wood last week. Senior Stephen Sheehan led the way in his debut at quarterback, rushing for a team-high 93 yards and a touchdown and completing 4 of 9 passes for 48 yards. Junior Brock Bell was also all over the field, scoring on an 11-yard run, a 65-yard punt return, a 35-yard field goal and 3 extra points.
The only downside to such an overwhelming win was that most of the starters -- only four of which are back from last season on offense and five on defense -- were taken out early in the third quarter.
"We're a young team, and we really needed that game experience," Sheppard said. "We just weren't able to get it because things got so out of hand. But we're looking forward to the challenge this week."
-- ANGELA WATTS