Before the season, some Loudoun Valley football boosters worried about the Vikings playing a schedule that included mostly schools with larger enrollments.

Now, after its ninth game, Loudoun Valley is having its best year in recent history.

After a 21-17 road win against rival Loudoun County on Friday night in Leesburg, the Vikings are 8-1, with six of their wins coming against opponents that are in a higher classification.

Running back/linebacker Brandon Grayson led Loudoun Valley, rushing for 161 yards on just five carries. He scored on runs of 79 and 48 yards out of the Wildcat formation and grabbed a key interception in the win.

“We are just trying to help other small schools who also have to play [Class] 4A and 5A schools,” Grayson said. “They’re much bigger and stronger. We didn’t want to have any excuses this year.

Grayson put Loudoun Valley (5-0 Dulles District) on the board first with a 79-yard touchdown run with one second left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing possession, Loudoun County quarterback Tae Crews-Naylor took the Raiders (5-4, 3-2) 70 yards and found wide receiver A.J. Bourscheid over the middle for a 23-yard touchdown reception.

The teams stayed deadlocked until the second play after halftime, when Crews-Naylor — who threw for 363 yards — hit Bourscheid for a 78-yard score to give the Raiders a 14-7 lead.

The Vikings answered when Trey McDyre found the end zone from 11 yards out with 11:16 left in the fourth quarter.

Loudoun County place kicker Caleb Hilgartner booted a 29-yard field goal with 7:31 left in the game, but Grayson followed with a decisive 48-yard touchdown two plays later.

Grayson and Marcus Oden each grabbed late interceptions to secure the victory.

“We knew we had to play better this year, and all the seniors have stepped up,” Grayson said. “We decided, as seniors, we weren’t going to go out and have people believe we couldn’t play with the bigger schools. We had to get this off our back.”