Heritage gets last laugh in tough Dulles District road win.
Final score –
Heritage Pride (3-0) 20 14 0 7 = 41
Loudoun Valley Vikings (2-1) 7 7 14 7 = 35
1 / 10:08 – Heritage TD (Alex Carlin 17-yd pass to Cole Miller; Alex Carlin 2-pt pass failed)
1 / 4:38 – Loudoun Valley TD (Nick Kallivokas 21-yd pass to Trey McDyre; Ethan Reeley kick)
1 / 2:02 – Heritage TD (Alex Carlin 55-yd pass to Cole Miller; Andres Villalon kick)
1 / 0:00 – Heritage TD (Alex Carlin 69-yd pass to Cole Miller; Andres Villalon kick)
2 / 10:13 – Loudoun Valley TD (Nick Kallivokas 13-yd pass to Trey McDyre; Ethan Reeley kick)
2 / 5:57 – Heritage TD (Alex Carlin 25-yd pass to Mitch Westbrook; Andres Villalon kick)
2 / 0:00 – Heritage TD (Mitch Westbrook 1-yd run; Andres Villalon kick)
3 / 11:26 – Loudoun Valley TD (Trey McDyre 60-yd run; Ethan Reeley kick)
3 / 6:17 – Loudoun Valley TD (Joseph LaFonte 14-yd run; Ethan Reeley kick)
4 / 11:47 – Heritage TD (Alex Carlin 24-yd run; Andres Villalon kick)
4 / 7:13 – Loudoun Valley TD (Joseph LaFonte 16-yd run; Ethan Reeley kick)
Loudoun Valley High School, Purcellville, Va. (September 11, 2015) — If you enjoy seeing footballs flung far down football fields, then seeing those footballs caught and furiously run with – often for long distances – then the Western Loudoun Air Show displayed last Friday by the Heritage Pride and the Loudoun Valley Vikings was just your speed.
If you like pitch-it-and-catch-it(-and-then-run-for-it), you would have especially liked the first half: Six touchdown passes carving through the Purcellville twilight, adroitly corralled by obliging receivers who then sped it home, defenders notwithstanding.
If you like guys who can throw deep catchable spirals to receivers with the hands and legs to hold up their end, trading offensive blows early and going into survival mode late, VivaLoudoun’s Top Ticket Of The Week was exactly that.
We saw a heated Dulles District, Region 4A West slugfest won by the Heritage Pride in hang-on fashion, 41-35, on the home field of the Loudoun Valley Vikings before large, into-it crowds for both sides inside Leonard Stadium.
We saw Heritage open at 3-0, already equalling Pride win totals from each of third-year head coach Reed Prosser‘s initial two seasons at the 14-year-old school.
“That’s what happens when you play young people. And now the young people are seniors, and it’s better when you play kids who shave,” said Prosser. “Our kids shave now.”
We saw Valley – dealing last season’s graduation of 11 starters, dealing with this season’s bump up to 4A from 3A – dealt a tough home loss.
“That was the first time we’ve had a true dogfight,” said Valley’s second-year coach Anthony Long. “We battled back, which I was proud of…. I know now that if we get down, we’re going to fight.”
We saw Heritage junior quarterback Alex Carlin get vertical with the aerial, tossing three scores in completing his first eight passes. We saw Valley’s own junior QB, Nick Kallivokas, find receivers six of the first eight times he let it fly. We saw seven touchdowns before halftime, the first six when one guy threw it to another guy.
“Our offensive line is 100 times better [than last year],” praised Carlin. “I also think I’m a little better at understanding the offense. So once I understand what I’m doing and they block well, it works out and we get big plays.”
If you’re an aficianado of the art of passing, deriving pleasure from a well-thrown football* connecting with a well-timed route, and the 11-man choreography that makes such a connection possible, it was a very good time.
Great game, too. All fawning over this true shootout aside, the Heritage/Valley tilt was an excellent matchup between two teams who looked playoff-quality – at least, on one side of the ball. It went a little something like this:
Carlin faced 3rd-and-8 on Heritage’s opening possession, the game a minute old. On a called pass play, he rolled right and tucked it, cutting and sprinting 47 yards in a field-flipping, pace-setting play. Next snap, Carlin dropped back and fired to the left corner of the end zone where 6-foot-3 Cole Miller outjumped a Viking for it.
A short pass for two points was picked off by Matt Schroeder.
An exchange of three-and-punts later, Valley answered. Senior running back Joseph LaFonte caught one first down and ran for another, but the drive went backwards once it reached the 20. On 4th-and-16 from the 21, the right-handed Kallivokas rolled left, neared the sideline, rotated his shoulders against his momentum and zipped it toward Trey McDyre. The future infielder on the Liberty University baseball team two-handed the prolate spheroid effortlessly. Valley went ahead.
Two minutes and 36 seconds later, Heritage took the lead for good when Carlin launched possibly the most perfect pass in the history of tackle football. Just as Miller broke past his guardian, Carlin let loose a 40-yard delivery (in actual distance). Miller ran alone as the ball chased him down the field, lodging snuggly on his right hip without the receiver having to break a millimeter of stride. He zoomed the remaining 25 yards for the Pride score.
It was Miller time again just two minutes later, in the wild first quarter’s wild last play. The senior wideout caught a simple hitch pattern to the sideline, made a spin move, slipped a tackle try and took off, not stopping until the goal line some 200 feet distant. It was his third touchdown on three receptions.
Like clockwork, the scoreboard registered another TD two minutes after that. Valley’s combo of Kallivokas and McDyre broke up the Carlin-to-Miller monotony with their second scoring connection, as McDyre needed just one hand for the catch. The quick score was set up by McDyre’s 58-yard kickoff return.
With each side having seen the other’s quarterback and featured receiver, Heritage raised Valley a running back. Mitch Westbrook gave Carlin’s right arm a little rest, shouldering the load on a short screen pass to convert a third down, then taking an even shorter pass 25 yards to paydirt while getting pinballed around.
Westbrook upped the Pride’s advantage from 13 to 20 points on the final play of the first half, following a train of blockers into the fray for a goal-line score. The throng of red-clad Heritage fans went ecstatic.
The Vikings modified their offense in the second half, lining McDyre up even with Kallivokas for direct snaps to either. It worked right away, with McDyre bullying through tacklers and steaming 60 yards for six. (With three touchdowns against Heritage, McDyre has now put the ball in the end zone nine times in the three-game-old season.)
Valley soon got the ball back, momentum on their side. That momentum gained when the offensive line pulled off some pre-snap trickery, standing up en masse from their stances and trading positions, left with right. The eager Heritage defense took the bait three times for 15 yards, helping the Vikings into the red zone where LaFonte then ran it in.
The fourth quarter dawned with the home team within six, the home fans growing more raucous. It was up to the visitors to defend their lead, and the Pride’s best defense was a good offense.
“Our kids did a good job of being resilient when they needed to,” Prosser said.
On the last quarter’s first play, Carlin took a naked bootleg to the right, saw space and sprinted for a score, making a nice move to make the last five of the 24 yards. Lead back to 13.
But not five game-minutes later, Valley rode snaps to McDyre down the field before LaFonte did the honors. Lead back to 6.
It was the showdown’s 11th touchdown, with 7:13 left to play. Somehow, it became the last.
A 32-yard field goal attempt at 3:06 by Heritage’s left-footed kicker Andres Villalon was a close miss to the left. Valley took over, drove to midfield and had visions of a game-winning score, but was thwarted by a holding call negating a 15-yard first-down run. A pair of incomplete passes (ironically) signaled the effective end of the game.
Prosser stopped short of agreeing that his Heritage team made a statement with the road win against a perennial playoff participant.
“I think our team is starting to play up to their potential,” he said. “We don’t talk about specific wins and losses. We talk about playing as well as we can play. When we play like we play when we play, we’re pretty good.”
Despite 21 possessions split virtually evenly between the two offenses, there was nary a single turnover – although there were 25 penalty flags thrown at the combatants, including six personal fouls.
But the evening’s featured presentation was a pretty awesome air show conducted by a couple of squadrons who’ve shown they can throw it, catch it and and run it with anyone.
* Not the easiest thing to throw. Back in the day, the shape of a standard football was changed, made narrower, so it could be thrown more easily. Before, it was like chucking a deformed volleyball.
A somber note
The game was fun, but the pre-game ceremony was appropriately subdued as the 14th anniversary of September 11, 2001, was recognized, with the memories of those lost in the attacks and their aftermath honored by a moment of silence.
Recognized and applauded for their sacrifice were some of Purcellville’s finest: First-responders from Purcellville Volunteer Rescue Squad, Purcellville Volunteer Fire Department, Purcellville Police Department and Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.
Loudoun Valley stats –
Rushing: Trey McDyre 16-143, 1 TD; Joseph LaFonte 11-78, 2 TDs; Nick Kallivokas 4-1
Passing: Nick Kallivokas 7 of 17 for 73, 2 TDs; Trey McDyre 1 of 1 for 5
Receiving: Trey McDyre 3-38, 2 TDs; Hunter Jackson 2-9; Jason Yoxthimer 1-13; Joseph LaFonte 1-13; Jacob Stapleton 1-5
Heritage stats –
Rushing: Mitch Westbrook 24-93, 1 TD; Alex Carlin 8-60, 1 TD; Cole Miller 3-22; John Wooden 1-3; Luke Schaub 2-1
Passing: Alex Carlin 13 of 19 for 254, 4 TDs
Receiving: Cole Miller 6-159, 3 TDs; Tyrique Moss 3-27; Tyler Daily 1-28; Mitch Westbrook 1-25, 1 TD; Peter Ejiba 1-11; John Wooden 1-4
Other scores –
Park View 27, Freedom 7
Woodgrove 56, Loudoun County 14
Dominion 57, Rock Ridge 13
Potomac Falls 62, Falls Church 14
Tuscarora 40, Hayfield 14
Broad Run 45, Langley 21
Briar Woods 24, South Lakes 20
James Madison 35, Stone Bridge 24
Strasburg 27, Riverside 6
Off-week for: John Champe
VivaLoudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Jason S Rufner
for Viva Loudoun Media Communications