Dominion senior running back Tony Armenteros vs. Park View junior running back Deric Dudinski.
As much success as Park View has had with its passing game -- sophomore quarterback C.J. Leizear averages 172 yards per game, leading the AA Dulles District -- Patriots Coach Andy Hill was determined to make his team more balanced on offense. That meant getting standout junior Deric Dudinski, who totaled 153 yards and one touchdown combined in the Patriots' first three games -- all losses -- more involved.
Park View has been able to do just that, with Dudinski rushing for a combined 413 yards and four touchdowns the past three games (two of which were victories), including a season-high 193 yards and two touchdowns in last week's district win over Heritage.
Coaches around the league, including Dominion's Mike Dougherty, have taken notice.
"We've seen him do this for three years now," Dougherty said. "We can't let him get outside because if he does it's lights out. In the open field he's as good as it gets. So our whole game plan is to keep him in the box and gang tackle him, because if the first guy misses he can take it all the way."
Dominion senior Tony Armenteros has turned the heads of opponents as well. Much like Dudinski, Armenteros struggled earlier this season. He totaled 141 yards rushing and one touchdown in Dominion's first three games -- all losses. Armenteros since has had 408 total yards and eight touchdowns the past three games -- all victories. He has scored on his first touch of the game each of the past three weeks, all on runs of at least 60 yards.
"He just looks like an athlete out there," Hill said. "And I know he is a good track athlete, so he is definitely someone we need to contain. We cannot afford to let him loose. We've seen how well he can run."
Every game in the AA Dulles District is important. Dominion, Park View and Potomac Falls are the three league teams that won their district-opening games a week ago. That means whichever team comes out on top in this matchup of unbeatens will be one step closer to earning the league's championship and the all-important automatic playoff berth that comes with it.
For Park View, Hill said the key will be avoiding the distractions that come with a homecoming game and stringing together a full 48 minutes of solid play.
"We need to play a full game where we can capitalize in the red zone, can both run the ball and throw the ball and where we wrap up on defense and don't give up any big plays," Hill said. "We've had our moments, but we're looking for a full football game. We haven't had that yet."
For Dominion, the focus is controlling the game's tempo and winning the time of possession margin.
"We need to keep Deric and the rest of their offense off the field," Dougherty said. "We need to have drives like we did in the fourth quarter of that Loudoun County game where we eat up seven or eight minutes of clock. Our success is going to be keeping their offense off the field because they can score and they can score quick. Now, of course, if Tony breaks another 60-yard run I'm not going to complain, but ideally we'd like to establish and sustain drives and watch that clock run."
-- ANGELA WATTS