By Moe Murphy
Special to Viva Loudoun
Purcellville (Dec. 8, 2013) – The Loudoun Valley High School Vikings were just one win away from playing for the VHSL 3A state football championship in Lynchburg, but that dream fell short as the Northside Vikings defeated Loudoun Valley, 29-14, at Leonard Stadium in Purcellville on Saturday December 7.
“Our great year was just a by-product of our kid’s hard work and our player’s hard effort,” Loudoun Valley coach Danny McGrath said. “We have great leadership within the group, and our guy’s tended to surprise us every week with the abilities that they had.”
Northside (13-1) took advantage of their size controlling the line on both sides of the ball. On a sloppy field that slowed things down, Loudoun Valley (11-3) was held to just over 50 yards rushing, and quarterback Sully Warner was forced to scramble out of the pocket all day.
“We have to have a balanced offense to win, we had to have a successful pass game to open up our run game,” Warner said. “We gave a great effort today. We had a good balance in the second half but we came up short today.”
Northside scored twice in the first quarter to jump out to an early 9-0 lead. After a drive stalled on the Valley 12 yard, Northside kicker Zach Large hit a 29-yard field goal at 8:26. Quarterback Dominic Dunnaville then hit Harold Buckner III for an 11-yard touchdown. The point after was blocked but Northside would hold the lead for good.
Loudoun Valley pulled to within two just four seconds into the second quarter when Brandon Grayson went in from 1 yard out running the wildcat. Aaron Peart’s extra point made the score Northside 9-7.
That is as close as the Loudoun Valley could get. Northside scored two times in the second quarter to take a 22-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Loudoun Valley passing game came alive in the second half and Warner used a variety of targets to move the ball effectively, but turnovers and penalties halted several impressive drives. Warner finished with 123 yards passing on 7 of 20. Warner threw 1 interception along with a 7 yard touchdown to Ryan Malsch.
After a scoreless third quarter each team scored once in the fourth quarter to make the final score 29-14.
“This is probably the best season we’ve ever had as a group here,” Warner said. “We tried so hard every time we came out here and that’s all that mattered. That was the summary of our season. We tried as hard as we can.”
The 11-3 season is a record breaker for the Vikings and the semifinal appearance in the newly formed VHSL 3A Division will go down as one of the Vikings best seasons ever.
“The first game of the season we looked at our schedule and said you know what, we can win a lot of games,” senior captain Brandon Grayson said. “We won the games we were supposed to win and played hard. Everybody liked each other and it was a fun season.”
As the sun set at Leonard Stadium and the Northside Vikings where celebrating their trip to Lynchburg next week, the Valley Vikings gathered one more time in the east end zone to hear one last message from their leader.
“You’ve had a great year. Some of you have had great careers,” McGrath said. “And there is going to be bigger days, bigger challenges, and bigger accomplishments for each of you. Don’t let this moment define you. Don’t feel the need to defend it. We’ve all been very, very fortunate to be part of this.”
Northside 29, Loudoun Valley 14
NS 9 13 0 7 – 29}
LV 0 7 0 7 – 14
1 NS FG Large 29
1 NS Buckner 11 pass from Dunnaville (kick blocked)
2 LV Grayson 11 run (Peart kick)
2 NS Buckner 10 pass from Dunnaville (kick failed)
2 NS Jackson 5 pass from Dunnaville (Large kick)
4 NS Cunningham 11 run (Large kick)
4 LV Malsch 7 pass from Warner (Peart kick)
NS: Krizner 18-137, Dunnaville 12-52, Cunningham 5-22, Fisher 2-13, Jackson 3-4, Hill 1-1.
LV: Cordani 16-25, McDyre 4-15, Grayson 3-8, Malsch 1-5, Warner 12-(-1).
NS: Dunnaville 10-19-0 117 yards
LV: Warner 7-20-1 123 yards
NS: Buckner 4-63, Fisher 1-19, Jackson 2-14, Krizner 2-14, Arnold 1-7.
LV: Malsch 5-79, Sullivan 1-24, McDyre 1-20.
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