Somebody played a 30-minute joke on Broad Run last night, but the Spartans weren't laughing. A disastrous first half probably has sent their season down the tubes as Loudoun Valley took advantage to claim a 16-14 Virginia AA Northwestern District game in Ashburn.

Broad Run, which has given up only 47 points all season, allowed 16 in the first 15 minutes in its first district loss.

The Spartans' offense touched the ball four times in the first quarter and produced two punts, an interception return for a touchdown and a punt snapped out of the end zone for a safety.

On the ensuing punt after the safety, Loudoun Valley drove 66 yards against the District's toughest defense and scored on an eight-yard run by Mike Basil.

"I wasn't pleased at all," said Broad Run Coach Jerry Smith. "I was disappointed in our play on both sides of the football."

It seemed the Spartans (4-1, 7-2) didn't even to want to touch the football. They squandered every opportunity handed them and, worse, turned it into points for the the Vikings (6-3, 4-1).

Jon Stup's 55-yard interception return came after Broad Run recovered Basil's fumble on the Vikings' first possession. The Spartans used the same play on their first possesion, and the pass was almost picked off. After they punted and recovered the fumble, they ran the same play and the pass by quarterback Mike Suddueth was thrown wildly for an incompletion. The third time was the charm for the defense: Suddueth threw another pass and Stup picked it off.

The safety came after Broad Run defense had valiantly stopped the Vikings on a fourth and one from the 40-yard-line. After three short runs, Suddueth, also the punter, bobbled a bad snap and it rolled into the back of the end zone.

Broad Run tailback Seth Lawlor scored a 21-yard touchdown after the Spartans recovered quarterback Frankie Johnson's fumbled snap but, typically, it was called back for holding. However, four plays later Suddueth scrambled from the pocket and hit Ethan Harlow, who found his way free in the rear of the end zone, with a 20-yard strike with 49 seconds left in the half to give Broad Run some hope. But it was dashed with 1:28 left in the game when, trailing by 16-14, Lawlor was stopped one yard short on fourth down at the Vikings 39.

The district is thrown into disarray because Broad Run, Loudoun Valley and Loudoun County each have one league loss.

Broad Run, though, has less power points by virtue of the weakness of its schedule and needs to beat Parkview next week and has to have Loudoun County upend Loudoun Valley to even have a shot at the playoffs.

"I would say our chances are very slim," said Smith.