Park View 27, Broad Run 24
Park View wide receiver Sean Daza had caught every ball thrown his way Friday night against Broad Run. So when the Patriots needed a big play on fourth and 11 to avoid their second district loss of the season, there was only one place for the ball to go.
The senior pulled in a 32-yard pass from Steven Blakenship to tie the game, setting the stage for Park View's 27-24 win over the Spartans with a 20-yard field goal by Eric Lefebvre with 4 minutes 35 seconds to play.
"Coach just told me that I have to catch the ball or he won't throw it to me," said Daza, who caught four passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns. "We were just like, we have to get this or our season's over. If we would have lost this game, it would have been no playoffs."
The Patriots (5-1, 2-1 AA Dulles District) put themselves in that win-or-else position because they failed to hold a fourth-quarter lead earlier this season against Stone Bridge and lost, 28-21.
The fourth-down pass to Daza, who also scored on a 33-yard reception in the second quarter, proved to be doubly important as the Spartans (4-2, 2-1) fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which led to Lefebvre's winning kick.
But plenty of drama remained in Park View's final stand. Broad Run converted fourth and 17 to keep the final drive going, but the last heave down the far sideline was intercepted by Deric Dudinski with 40 seconds to play.
"We stopped them with a field goal," said Broad Run tailback Thayer Nelson, who carried the ball 16 times for 117 yards, "and I just thought we were going to win it right there."
The way the game started, it looked as if a battle between two of the district's better running backs -- Dudinski and Nelson -- would materialize.
Nelson ran for 107 yards on 11 first-half carries, including a 23-yard touchdown run on his second carry. Dudinski, who finished with 143 yards, did him one better by scampering 59 yards for a score on his first carry to tie the game at 7.
However, with Broad Run holding a 17-14 halftime lead, the frantic scoring began to slow as each team had to go away from its main threat.
Dudinski carried 18 times in the second half for 63 yards, and Nelson got just five touches.
Even without the big plays from the offense, Dudinski's interception in the closing seconds provided a lot of relief to his teammates.
"I thought this was going to be Stone Bridge all over again. I was so worried," Park View's Blakenship said. "We held on this time. We learned from our mistakes."