Herndon 49, Park View 7
Park View was one yard from a one-touchdown deficit against unbeaten Herndon on Friday night when the all-too-familiar struck for the struggling Patriots. A goal-line fumble ended that opportunity, and later an interception on the final play of the half was returned for a touchdown to seal Park View's fate in a 49-7 loss in Sterling.
The Patriots (0-3) added another chapter to a disappointing start to the season, falling behind by two touchdowns early before battling back for a chance to stay close. But those pivotal mistakes allowed Herndon (3-0), a Group AAA stalwart out of the difficult Concorde District, to pull away.
"We have underachieved," first-year Park View coach Andy Hill said. "We have failed at every opportunity to make the big play; that's what's gotten us. We've been spending a lot of time on fundamentals, and we're going to have to keep on doing that because we have young kids."
Down 21-7 late in the first half, the Patriots had battled for a good scoring opportunity, converting a fake field goal attempt on fourth down to get the ball at the 1-yard line with four chances to score. But on the first play, junior Deric Dudinski (52 rushing yards) fumbled, and the Hornets got the ball back.
A goal-line interception by Park View's Gregory Stuart ended that drive with less than a minute remaining, and his return brought the ball to the Patriots' 25-yard line. Instead of downing the ball to end the half, the Patriots tried to move downfield, and as the clock expired, a Park View pass was tipped and then intercepted by Herndon's Matt Seeger. Seeger broke several tackles for a 37-yard touchdown return and a 28-7 Hornets lead at the half.
The Patriots never threatened again, amassing only 10 total yards in the second half.
"That was just a simple play to see if we could get something. It was supposed to be a harmless play," Hill said. "But it got batted into the air, and then we missed our chance to tackle him."
Park View endured a rough first three minutes of the game, in which Herndon junior Chris Thompson rushed for 76 of his game-high 183 yards as the Hornets built a 14-0 lead.
Thompson managed to evade Patriots tacklers all night, with five rushes of more than 20 yards.
"We got guys there [to tackle Thompson], but we weren't making tackles," Hill said. "We're diving at ankles instead of wrapping him up."
Thompson seemed to concur.
"I was hitting the holes real hard, and when they hit, they weren't wrapping up too well," Thompson said. "Without wrapping me up, I'm not going down anywhere."
Still, the Patriots battled. A Raymond Mends touchdown reception on a pass from Christopher Leizear cut the deficit in the first quarter, but the Patriots trailed by 14 heading into the final minutes of the half.