Park View 20, Heritage 12
With the game clock showing 3.2 seconds remaining and Heritage trailing Park View by eight points in Heritage's homecoming game -- and the AA Dulles District opener for both teams -- the Pride players knelt on the sideline with their arms locked awaiting one final pass from senior quarterback Bryan Brosnan, who took the snap at the Patriots 30-yard line.
Heritage's cheerleaders also huddled together on the track, and the nearly 3,000 fans were on their feet and holding a collective breath.
Brosnan got the throwing lane he needed. But Park View junior Deric Dudinski came down with the goal-line interception as time expired to seal Park View's 20-12 win.
"Resilient teams win close games," Patriots Coach Andy Hill told his players. "I love it when you fight like that!"
Though the outcome wasn't what Heritage Coach Wes Driskill had hoped for, a part of him loved the game, too.
"This looked and felt like a district championship game out here tonight, the way we kept coming at each other," Driskill said. "I'm very proud of my guys. They had the school behind them, and they played in a very important game with the kind of fight I've been asking them to show. They played like warriors. I've waited four years to see a performance and an effort like that."
But Dudinski and Park View took the first step toward claiming the district title, improving to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in the district. Dudinski rushed for a season-high 193 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries and teamed with senior Greg Stuart and junior Justin Denekas to make great plays in the secondary.
The trio even withstood a rally by Brosnan, who started the game just 4 of 15 passing before getting hot in the fourth quarter. Brosnan (14 for 32, 122 yards) completed all five of his pass attempts on the quarter's opening drive, including a six-yard screen to senior running back Matt Lucas with 8 minutes 2 seconds to play that pulled the Pride within one score. But after advancing Heritage (3-3, 0-1) to the Park View 30 with 9.9 seconds to play, Brosnan's final two attempts to find 6-foot-5 senior Quinn Tibbs were unsuccessful.
The first pass was well covered by Stuart and Dudinski, who double-teamed Tibbs; the second was knocked away by Stuart and landed in Dudinski's arms.
"Greg is a kid who threw his back out warming up to play Broad Run" two weeks ago, Hill said. "And he'd been a little bothered by it. But this week he really looked to have his wheels back, so we lined him up against Quinn Tibbs because he was the scariest player we saw on film. And he still made some catches, but we held him in check when we needed to."
Though it came down to a final heave, this game was largely decided on the ground. Park View, led by Dudinski, totaled 226 yards rushing on 40 carries, an average of 5.7 yards per attempt. Heritage, paced by senior Chris Smith, had 27 yards rushing on 28 carries.
The Pride's first-half score was a 44-yard punt return by Smith.
"It's a team effort for us," Dudinski said. "We had a really tough non-district schedule, but it's different now. This is district play. And we just showed everybody else in the district that we're ready."