Loudoun Valley's Anthony Long hit Greg Carlson with a 75-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds left to force overtime and Ben Cross scored from seven yards out in the extra period as the Vikings rallied for a wild 28-21 win over Loudoun County last night in Leesburg.
"I thought we had lost," Carlson said of the season opener for both teams. "I could not believe that pass. I just looked up and there it was."
The Vikings forced a Loudoun County punt late in regulation and took over on their own 25 with 16 seconds left, setting the stage for the heroics of Long and Carlson. On the first play, Long dropped back and threw to Carlson, who outjumped a Loudoun County defensive back and raced into the end zone.
Cross left the game three different times with an injury to his left leg, including once with four minutes left in regulation. When he returned to Loudoun Valley's lineup with three minutes left, he gained 22 yards on two carries before fumbling on the second carry. Loudoun County lineman Eric Gaskins recovered with 2 minutes 30 seconds left, seemingly to seal the game.
"I went back to the sidelines with my head down and thought I had cost my team the game [after the fumble]," Cross said. "But once we hit that long pass, I knew we would be okay. I was really glad to get one more chance to help us win the game."
Cross, who also plays linebacker, and Carlson, a safety, also provided heroics on defense. In Loudoun County's overtime possession, Cross sacked Raiders quarterback Grant Harris (45 yards passing), for a nine-yard loss on second and goal from the Valley 6. On third down, Carlson deflected Harris's pass in the end zone. On fourth down, Carlson intercepted Harris's pass to end the game.
Cross finished with 119 rushing yards and one touchdown and also had a 49-yard fumble recovery for another score.
County and Valley meet again on Nov. 5 at Valley in Purcellville.
CAPTION: Loudoun Valley's Ben Cross, right, knocks Loudoun County's Chris Hughes off his feet during the Vikings' win.