After Langley defeated McLean 21-7 in the season finale for both teams last night, the Langley players headed straight for the team bus, which was running in the parking lot, waiting to take them back to their school.
There, they gathered around a radio in the cafeteria and listened for the result of the Edison-Mount Vernon game, which would determine their postseason fate.
They got good news. Mount Vernon defeated Edison 22-21 in overtime, which meant Langley qualified for the Virginia AAA Division 5 Northern Region playoffs and will play at Yorktown next week.
Langley's victory eliminated McLean, which needed a victory to advance to the playoffs. The teams finished the regular season with 6-4 records.
Langley struck first last night, taking advantage of a fumble by McLean senior quarterback Tom Kolker on the game's opening drive. Kolker mishandled a snap on his own 25-yard line, a mistake that put Langley in prime position.
Langley promptly scored on a 20-yard run up the middle by senior running back Scott Gramm to take a 7-0 lead at 9 minutes 29 seconds of the first quarter.
The visitors extended their lead to 14-0 in the second quarter on a nifty flea-flicker. With under a minute remaining in the half, Jack Urbanski, the Langley quarterback, handed the ball off to Gramm, who made a 24-yard pass to Michael Wilson.
Langley took a 21-0 lead in the third quarter when defensive end Mark Viehland blocked a McLean punt that was recovered by Nathan Jacobe in the end zone.
"We gave up too many big plays and they turned that into points," said Jarreau Mobley, McLean's running back. "That's what beat us."
That score seemed to deflate McLean, which struggled to get anything going offensively. Kolker, McLean's highly-rated quarterback, was 2 for 11 with an interception in the first half. And when Kolker, who led the district in passing (941 yards, 9 touchdowns and 6 interceptions entering last night's game), struggles, the McLean offense is ineffective.
Kolker, however, scored McLean's only points in the fourth quarter on a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line. His score at 11:51 cut the margin to 21-7, but it was too little, too late.