Loudoun Valley 28,
Park View 17
Park View senior wide receiver Sean Daza dressed in full uniform and went through the motions of warming up against Loudoun Valley last night on his home field in Sterling. Daza, who found out late this week he had suffered a broken left foot in last week's win over Loudoun County, had no intention of playing but was instead being used as a decoy to keep Vikings Coach Bruce Sheppard guessing.
There was no masking his injury once Daza emerged from halftime in a sweatsuit, a gray hood covering his head instead of a helmet. There was also no making up for his absence when Daza, who also punts for the Patriots, was not the one who lined up deep at the Park View 15-yard line to start the fourth quarter.
Loudoun Valley senior Jimmy Phillips took advantage of Park View's new inexperienced punter -- and the team's subsequent timing mishap -- and broke through the line for a clean block. Vikings junior Steven Harvey recovered the ball at the 1-yard line, and one play later senior quarterback Stephen Sheehan scored to seal the 28-17 victory.
Loudoun Valley (6-3, 4-2 AA Dulles District) not only held the highest scoring team in the district to its lowest output of the season (Park View came into the game averaging a league best 37.6 points per outing) but also knocked the Patriots (7-2, 4-2) out of playoff contention.
"That might be the end result, but this game wasn't about knocking them out of the playoffs or anything other than us just finishing with pride," said Sheehan, whose team is one year removed from a playoff berth. "We've struggled some this year, but we aren't about giving up."
Sheehan certainly did not let up either. The first-year quarterback rushed for a game-high 176 yards and three touchdowns and also added 81 yards passing. He also was instrumental playing safety, where a particularly high-flying pass breakup on third and 10 from the Park View 39-yard line with just over a minute to play squelched any chance of a comeback.
"Stephen has steadily gotten better for us every game," Sheppard said of the converted wide receiver. "He's as physical a kid as you're gonna see both as a quarterback and as a safety."
Sheehan's rushing numbers even bested those of Park View sophomore Deric Dudinski, who entered the game as the district's leading rusher with 1,391 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Vikings held him to 121 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries, his second-lowest output of the season.
"They outplayed us," Park View Coach Charlie Pierce said. "I saw [Sheehan] live last week against Stone Bridge and knew he was a hard-nosed guy who would be hard to tackle. We missed him a lot tonight, but his hard-nosed running style contributed a lot to it."