By Dan Sousa
Viva Loudoun Editor
Photo gallery by Jeff Vennitti
Leesburg (Sept. 7, 2013) – Friday’s marquee running back match-up between Woodgrove High School senior Josh Sweet and Tuscarora junior Noah Reimers was once again as advertised as the two backs, both sporting the No. 4 jersey, combined for four touchdowns and 326 yards rushing. The difference on the night, however, was a Huskies defense that guarded their Red Zone like a precious metal, stopping Wolverine drives on downs at 22, 19 and 17 yard-lines in a hard-fought 21-14 win.
For 5A Tuscarora (2-0 record) it was a fifth straight win over 4A Woodgrove (1-1) as the Huskies have never lost in a meeting between the two schools that opened in 2010.
“We have kind of developed a big rivalry with them. They are always a good team, they have a lot of big boys,” said Reimers, who finished with 167 yards rushing on 25 carries, including a score from 63 yards that gave the Huskies a 21-7 with 4:48 left in the first half. Reimers was also his usual hard-nosed self on defense.
It was not lost on the Huskies that some had Sweet ranked ahead of Reimers on preseason rankings at running back.
“We wanted to go in and show that we had the best running back out there. We can do just as much work as anybody else,” said Tuscarora junior center Noah Klemm.
Tuscarora coach was impressed by Klemm and his offensive line, one of his youngest O-line units he has coached. He was not, however, surprised the second and third effort put in by Reimers who simply will not go down upon first contact.
“I think he is the best running back in Virginia,” said Burnett.
Reimers and the Huskies running game was clicking on all cylinders in the first half with a 11 all-running play, 55 yard drive in the first quarter to go up 7-0 after Reimers waltzed in from the 6 on 3rd-and-2. Later in the first quarter, senior Mali Barker scored from 26 yards out and proved on the night that the Huskies have a nice 1-2 punch in the backfield.
Woodgrove’s Sweet — who may or may not drive the Wolverines bus to away games but seems to do everything else — broke off a 67-yard kickoff return after Reimers first score to set up a short TD drive he finished off from the 2. That tied the score at 7-7.
When Tuscarora scored on their next drive it appeared that the game would be a shootout but Huskies turnovers — they had several fumbles, one lost, and an interception in the Red Zone, the Wolverines inability to convert on third down where they went an anemic 3 of 9 and 0-3 on fourth down, left the game a bit of a struggle on both sides.
Tuscarora did not punt on the evening, turning the ball over on its third possession. Woodgrove drove down to the Huskies 22 but turned the ball over on downs and three plays later, Reimers sprinted 63 yards to make it 21-7.
Woodgrove again put together a nice drive, reaching the Huskies 21 before Sweet was held to two yards on 4th-and-3 with 44 seconds left in the half.
It was more of the same in the second half as both teams munched the clock with running plays and combined for just five drives total in the half.
“The second half was a battle and I think our team came out on top because we have tremendous heart,” said Reimers.
The Huskies did not score again, but came up big defensively as Woodgrove, led, by who else, Sweet, marched down to tie the score in the final minutes. Facing 4th-and-3 again, this time from the Huskies 17, Woodgrove faked the handoff to Sweet and tried to hit the back looping out of the backfield but the pass was off target and Tuscarora took over with 4:42 left.
A hallmark of a Burnett coached team is a squad that can run a clock out to dry the ink on a “W” and Friday was a perfect example as Tuscarora held the ball for the final 4:42 with Barker and Reimers earning just enough yardage to keep the sticks moving and the clock ticking down until they could take the victory formation.
On the evening, Tuscarora passed for just 57 yards but the Huskies had the more balanced attack as senior quarterback Nick Azzarita connected on his first four attempts and was 6 of 9 on the evening.
Noah Reimers Interview
Noah Klemm interview