Loudoun Valley 28, Park View 17
Loudoun Valley senior lineman Ben Myers is perhaps a bit biased when it comes to his best friend, senior quarterback and safety Stephen Sheehan. After the Vikings' 28-17 win at Park View on Friday night, Myers labeled Sheehan the hardest-hitting defensive back he'd ever seen. And then he said Sheehan had turned into a better quarterback than his brother John had been a year ago in guiding Loudoun Valley to a Virginia AA Region II playoff berth.
"That's hard for me to say because I love them both," Myers said. "But after tonight's game, that's how I see it."
Stephen Sheehan shrugged off the compliment, but after Friday's performance, there are certain to be others who fall into Myers's camp.
The first-year quarterback who moved from wide receiver to fill his brother's shoes after John's graduation last spring rushed for a game-high 176 yards and three touchdowns. Sheehan also added 81 yards passing and was instrumental playing safety on defense. One particularly high-flying pass breakup on third and 10 from the Park View 39-yard line with just over a minute to play squelched any chance of a comeback.
"Stephen has steadily gotten better for us every game," Vikings Coach Bruce Sheppard said. "He's as physical a kid as you're going to see, both as a quarterback and as a safety."
Sheehan's rushing numbers bested even those of Park View sophomore Deric Dudinski, who entered the game as the district's leading rusher with 1,391 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Vikings (6-3, 4-2 AA Dulles District) held him to 121 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries, his second-lowest output of the season.
"They outplayed us," Park View Coach Charlie Pierce said. "I saw [Sheehan] live last week against Stone Bridge and knew he was a hard-nosed guy who would be hard to tackle. We missed him a lot tonight, but his hard-nosed running style contributed a lot to it."
The Vikings defense, meanwhile, did not miss Dudinski -- or any of the Patriots -- much after the first quarter. Park View, which entered averaging a league-best 37.6 points per game, scored on its first two possessions. The first was a nine-yard run by Dudinski and the next a 15-yard run by Reggie James. The Patriots managed one field goal the rest of the game.
The loss knocked Patriots (7-2, 4-2) out of playoff contention, leaving No. 7 Liberty and No. 12 Stone Bridge as the only area teams in the postseason hunt.
"That might be the end result, but this game wasn't about knocking them out of the playoffs or anything other than us just finishing with pride," Sheehan said. "We've struggled some this year, but we aren't about giving up."
Sheehan wasn't ready to concur with Myers's praise, either, despite Friday's performance, which raised his season rushing total to 894 yards and 12 touchdowns and his passing total to 522 yards and two touchdwns.
John Sheehan finished his senior season in 2003 with 1,157 yards passing, 165 yards rushing and a combined 15 touchdowns.
"I don't know about me being better than him," said Stephen, who trained with his brother during the offseason. "I can run a little better, maybe, but I think he might have something different to say about who's the better QB."