It was a happy -- albeit sloppy -- homecoming Friday night for Park View. The Patriots forced six Dominion turnovers in the misty rain that left the field more than a little slippery and scored twice on defense and four more times on offense in a 41-16 win. Park View's players then huddled together and knelt on the track to show support for the school's band members, who trekked through the mud at midfield for a postgame performance.
But that just postponed their celebration.
The win kept Park View (3-4, 2-0) unbeaten in AA Dulles District play, setting up a showdown for first place next week at Potomac Falls, which improved to 3-4 and 2-0 with a 21-7 victory at Loudoun County. The winner of the Dulles District will earn an automatic berth in the regional playoff regardless of its overall record.
"Things right now are working well for us," said Park View junior tailback Deric Dudinski, who totaled 140 yards rushing, 63 yards receiving and came up with one big stop after another at safety. "We come out with a mind-set that we're going to score every time we touch the ball. We want to put points on the board."
The Patriots did so in droves Friday night, scoring twice defensively in the opening quarter -- once on a 65-yard fumble return by junior Chris Davies and again on a 60-yard interception return by senior Greg Stuart -- and getting a third quick score on a 70-yard touchdown run on Dudinski's first carry of the game.
"They took our heart there in that first quarter when we gave up that second defensive touchdown," said Dominion Coach Mike Dougherty, whose team fell to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the district a week after earning its first district win. "We got it back a little in the second half and responded, but we're still not the kind of offensive team who can come back from a 21-point deficit. But then, not too many teams can against an offense like theirs, either."
Said Park View Coach Andy Hill: "We want to be a team that can control the clock and sustain drives. But there's something to be said for being able to score quickly, too."
The Patriots also benefited from three other interceptions, two more fumble recoveries and four sacks that crippled a Titans offense that otherwise moved the ball with success and totaled 250 total yards.
Park View sophomore defensive end Camah Mulabah Jr. registered three of his team's four sacks, bringing his season total to six in two games since returning from a broken foot suffered during the preseason.
"Nothing gets you more excited as a defensive player than seeing your guys score," Mulabah said. "That pumped all of us up, and the offense, too. We needed that in a big game like this."
The Patriots led 27-0 at halftime after adding a 39-yard scoring pass from sophomore C.J. Leizear (8 of 13 passing, 187 yards, 3 touchdowns) to Dudinski, who broke through three tackles and then spun his way past a fourth defender before finding the end zone midway through the second quarter. Park View then matched each of the Titans' two scores in the second half.
"Deric is tough," Dougherty said. "He broke about eight tackles on that one touchdown run, or at least it seemed that way. We said all week that if he got outside we'd better tackle him, and we just couldn't bring him down. And then on defense, he gets to the gaps and fills those holes quicker than anyone. He didn't let much develop.
"He's the best all-around player in this district. He's got the kind of speed that just puts him on a different level."