Purcellville (Sept. 30, 2013) – On a night when Loudoun Valley High School honored its latest Athletic Hall of Fame class, the Vikings football team had a second quarter for the ages, scoring 34 points, including a 27-point outburst in less than five minutes to turn a 14-14 game with Freedom into an eventual 54-14 walkabout.
Led by gritty quarterback Trent Gilmore (160 yards rushhing on 23 carries), who ran in two scores, and a good gameplan by first year coach Jared Van Acker the Eagles hung with the host Vikings early but then in the second quarter it was all Valley.
With the score knotted at 14-14, the 3A Vikes (3-1) went to junior workhorse running back Andrew Cordani, who carried the ball four of five times to move it down to the Eagles 35. On the next play a nice trap block up the middle sprung Cordani for the go-ahead score with 5:49 left in the first half.
It was just the start for Valley as they forced a quick 3-and-out and on the very next play, Cordani found another gaping hole on the same trap block and this time scampered 60 yards for the score with 4:14 left in the half.
“I just followed my linemen,” said Cordani. “The holes were huge.”
5A Freedom might have been able to regroup at the break but three plays later, Loudoun Valley senior linebacker Brandon Grayson made a great read, stepped in front of a pass in the flats and raced 30 yards for the touchdown. That score with 2:34 left in the half made it 34-14 Valley.
“We started off a little shaky (on defense) because they were doing some trickery,” said Grayson.
And the Vikes had one more TD in them before the Hall of Fame Ceremony at the half as they pounced on a Freedom fumble — the Eagles had six turnovers in the contest — on the Eagles 32 and after an incompletion, junior quarterback Sully Warner hooked up with senior Atticus Keane for a 32-yard score to make it 40-14 at the half.
Valley went to its reserves mostly in the second half but still managed to tack on two scores in the fourth quarter with junior Jeremy Klipple returning an interception 72 yards for a score along the Eagles sidelines and then back-up running back, junior Elijah Cooper, scored from 11 yards out to cap the scoring.
On the opening drive of the night, the Vikings needed just six plays to go 73 yards with senior Marcus Oden taking a jet sweep from his wing back spot and motoring 37 yards for the score with 9:04 left in the first quarter.
Both teams traded punts before Freedom put together a clock-eating drive of 11 plays that covered 76 yards. Gilmore tied the game up with a score from the 11 on 3rd-and-3.
Valley answered back on the ensuring kickoff as sophomore Joeph LaFonte took the ball at the 4, found a nice seam and sprinted all the way to the end zone for the electrfying 96-yard TD.
Undaunted, Freedom came right back to tie with Gilmore capping a 80-yard drive with his second score of the night, this time from the 9.
At 14-14, it appeared to be a dogfight but Valley was about to explode for 27 points to put things away before the half.
“The floodgates just opened up,” said Van Acker. “We had (six) turnovers and no football team in America can come back from that.”
After the game, Loudoun Valley coach Daniel McGrath presneted a game ball to assistant coach Tom McIntyre, who started the Freedom program when the school first opened in 2005. McGrath spoke highly of the current Eagles staff and what they are trying to build.
“Give credit to their coaching staff and their kids. They are going to be a program to deal with in the future,” said McGrath.
While the win over the higher classification 5A Freedom gave 3A Valley some nice VHSL football ratings points and puts them in second place in 3A East midway through the season, McGrath wasn’t looking too far down the road.
“We just want to get better each rep and get better each game,” said McGrath.
Loudoun Valley 54, Freedom 14
Free – 7 7 0 0 – 14
LV – 7 34 0 13 – 54
1 LV Oden 37 run (Oden kick), 9:04
2 F Gilmore 11 run (Pearson kick), 11:11
2 LV LaFonte 96 kickoff return (Oden kick), 10:54
2 F Gilmore 9 run (Pearson kick), 8:39
2 LV Cordani 35 run (Oden kick), 5:49
2 LV Cordani 60 run (kick failed), 4:04
2 LV Grayson 30 interception return (Oden kick), 2:34
2 LV Keane 32 pass from Warner (Oden kick), 1:11
4 LV Klipple 72 interception return (kick failed), 7:01
4 LV Cooper 11 run (Oden kick), 2:14
Freedom: GIlmore 23-160, Conley 11-94, Weismiller 10-21, Whitehead 4-14. Totals 48-289.
Loudoun Valley: Cordani 12-137, Cooper 12-51, Oden 1-37, Warner 3-2. Totals 28-227.
Freedom: Gilmore 3-11-3, 36 yards.
Loudoun Valley: Warner 5-13-0, 80 yards.
Freedom: Suresh 3-36.
Loudoun Valley: Keane 1-32, Hopkins 1-18, Irving 1-13, McDyre 1-9, Malsch 1-8.