Park View 33,
Broad Run 21
Heading into its final regular-season game, this much was certain for the Park View football team: Lack of motivation would not be a factor. Having squandered an opportunity to seal the AA Dulles District title a week prior against Loudoun County, the Patriots' matchup against Broad Run on Friday night provided them with a second chance at the district crown and an automatic berth to the regional playoffs.
Park View faltered early against the Spartans, fumbling on its second play -- a miscue that led to a quick Broad Run touchdown and an early deficit. But after the initial misstep, Park View scored 33 straight points, getting three touchdown passes from quarterback C.J. Leizear and an 81-yard scamper from Deric Dudinski en route to a 33-21 win in Ashburn.
"We came back and kept fighting," Dudinski said about the team's response to the early fumble. "I think we can do real good [in the playoffs]. If we play together as a team, we can pretty much do anything."
With the win, the Patriots (5-5, 4-1 Dulles District) will enter the Virginia AA Region II Division 4 playoffs as the fourth seed and will travel to Harrisonburg to play the Blue Streaks. The Patriots feel they will be ready.
In his first year, Coach Andy Hill loaded the schedule with top-tier talent, such as Jefferson (W. Va.), Herndon and Loudoun Valley, and although the Patriots didn't beat those teams, they gained valuable experience.
"We're 5-5, so we're not world-beaters yet, but the big thing is to get in, and once you get in anything can happen," Hill said. "We've played teams that are at the level of Harrisonburg, but we have to come out ready to play."
Against Broad Run (1-9, 1-4), Park View displayed the type of offensive and defensive prowess it will need to succeed in the playoffs. Offensively, the Patriots were able run well, with Dudinski carrying 19 times for 232 yards. They passed efficiently as well. Leizear completed 17 of 30 passes for 174 yards, connecting eight times with tight end Joey Stefanacci.
Defensively, the Patriots, led by linebacker Curtis Coker, limited Spartans running back Thayer Nelson to 68 yards, more than half of which came on two carries late in the fourth quarter.
Park View also showed some vulnerability as a young team. They committed nine penalties for 70 yards and also fumbled five times.
"We need to start strong and not lapse," Hill said. "We got a little sloppy, and we can't do that for the next four games if we're going to keep winning."
Said Dudinski: "We think we can compete with everybody. We lost some tough ones, had injuries left and right, but we still fought and kept going."