Loudoun Valley 21,
Loudoun Valley's football players celebrated their 21-19 victory over previously unbeaten Edison on senior night Friday with an ice-cold water bath for Coach Bruce Sheppard and round after round of rousing cheers.
Many of their more than 3,500 fans also celebrated by joining the team in singing the school's fight song and then by lingering in the parking lot for cookouts and "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses blaring from the speakers.
"We wore T-shirts to school on Friday that said, 'Not on This Night. Not in Our House,' " senior linebacker Steven Harvey said. "We wanted to get the student body into the game, and it worked. I think it got us all motivated."
The win gave Loudoun Valley (7-1, 5-0) at least a one-game lead over every other team in the AAA National District with two games remaining in the regular season. If the Vikings beat Wakefield and Stuart, they will secure the district title -- and a regional playoff berth -- in their first season in Class AAA.
"Our motto all season coming into AAA is that we had no doubt we could get it done at this level," said senior tailback Tommy Schonder, who was a workhorse for the Vikings with a game-high 114 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries. "No doubt we could compete for this district title and in the playoffs.
"And there was no doubt we were winning tonight on senior night."
The Eagles fumbled an option pitch on their second play from scrimmage, and Harvey recovered the ball at the Edison 1-yard line. Another Eagles fumble on their second series gave Loudoun Valley a short field again, this time at the Edison 43.
The Vikings turned both miscues into touchdowns, the first on a quarterback sneak by senior Sam Clay and the second on a five-yard carry by Schonder for a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
"We killed ourselves with turnovers," said Edison senior wideout Justin Smith. "We tried to strike back, but it was just too late in the game."
Smith did catch a 67-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Shawn Lloyd midway through the second quarter -- one of 10 times the duo connected for 197 yards -- but the Eagles (7-1, 4-1) failed to keep Loudoun Valley's offense from running time off the clock for much of the rest of the game.
When Sheppard elected to go for it on fourth and three from the Eagles' 7-yard line with 10 minutes 37 seconds remaining, that was the beginning of the end. Schonder scored on the play, and on the subsequent kickoff, senior Brock Bell blasted a hard, short kick off an Edison player that was recovered by Vikings junior Jason Danner at the Eagles' 46-yard line.
The Vikings' ensuing eight-play drive did not result in points, but it ate up more than four minutes.
"That's not really an onsides kick," Sheppard said. "We just try to drive it off somebody, and for the second week in a row it worked. We just knew we couldn't afford, with their speed and ability to score, to keep giving them the ball back."
The Eagles added a 9-yard touchdown pass from Lloyd to senior Ed Baldwin with 47 seconds to play, but their onside attempt was fielded cleanly by Vikings senior Trevor Ikwild and sent the fans charging onto the field for the start of the celebration.