After Loudoun Valley's gritty 28-14 district victory at previously undefeated Yorktown yesterday, Vikings players ran to the sideline and joined their fans in singing the school fight song. Even though Loudoun Valley, which moved from AA to the AAA National District this season, had traveled more than 40 miles from Purcellville to Arlington, the point was clear: The Vikings felt at home.
Senior running back Tommy Schonder, who had a season-high 158 yards rushing, broke open a 14-14 game in the third quarter with a 51-yard burst to the outside and cut back to the middle, scoring the game-winning touchdown two plays later. Schonder iced the game for the Vikings (4-1, 2-0) with a two-yard score with two minutes left in the game.
"We definitely realized the importance of this game coming in," Schonder said. "This game was our first test in the district, and we needed to show people we belonged in AAA."
In a game billed as a matchup of quality runners, Yorktown's Max Milien also held up his end, rushing for 104 yards on 23 carries. But it might have been the Vikings' ability to pass that gave Loudoun Valley the edge when it counted.
Senior quarterback Sam Clay went 7 for 12, completing passes to six players in his second game back from a sprained knee injured over the summer. Among those completions was a 75-yarder to junior Ryan Sheehan for the Vikings' second score. By contrast, Yorktown (4-1, 1-1) managed 26 yards passing.
"We were really happy that we could get the passing game going," Schonder said. "We've been trying to get a more well-rounded offense for the past couple of weeks, and we were able to do it tonight."
The Vikings will have the advantage of forcing a district opponent to travel on Friday with a game at home against Washington-Lee. The Patriots will try to regroup against Mount Vernon on Friday after being held to 30 yards of offense after they tied the game at 14 midway through the third quarter.
"They soundly beat us tonight," Yorktown Coach Bruce Hanson said. "I think we might still have the talent to beat them at some point, but we're certainly not ready now. We have to play better."