Loudoun County quarterback Tae Crews-Naylor and wide receiver A.J. Bourschield were sideline bystanders as Caleb Hilgartner’s 47-yard field goal split the uprights in the final seconds of the Raiders’ 31-28 homecoming win over Woodgrove last month.
Crews-Naylor suffered a concussion weeks before, and Bourshield was out with a shoulder injury.
Saturday, when the two teams face off in the first-round of the 4A North region playoffs, both are likely to get a shot at knocking off the Wolverines again.
Since that game, the two teams have taken divergent paths. Woodgrove (7-3) has won three in a row while Loudoun County (5-5) has lost two of its last three games, including a deflating 21-point defeat at the hands of Leesburg rival Heritage, its first loss to the Pride since 2006.
“We were all in shock after the game,” Crews-Naylor said. “We didn’t think we would make the playoffs, but once we found out we did, we were ready to practice on Saturday.”
Bourschield hasn’t played since being sandwiched in the third quarter of a 28-21 loss to Loudoun Valley on Nov. 1. Crews-Naylor zipped the ball between two defenders and the sure-handed Bourschield made the catch. But two Vikings defenders struck him helmet-to-helmet on both sides of his head forcing him out against Heritage last week. Before the injury he had six catches for 146 yards and two touchdown grabs.
“I just felt helpless because I couldn’t do anything to assist my team,” Bourschield said of watching the Heritage loss. “I know they played their hearts out, but it hurt me to watch that.”
He was cleared by doctors to play Tuesday, but the decision will ultimately be made by his parents and trainers.
If he can play, he will be a welcome addition to the receiving corps alongside the speedy Michael Rexrode. Rexrode had his best game of the season against Woodgrove, catching 17 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
Saturday’s contest will be the first taste of the playoffs for dual-threat quarterback Crews-Naylor, and having all receivers healthy is imperative for the junior.
“I have to enjoy it and have fun, but I need to trust my senior receivers and my line,” Crews-Naylor said. “I need to stay in the pocket more and not always look to run.”
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