Final score —
Tuscarora Huskies (2-0) 7 14 20 0 = 41
Woodgrove Wolverines (1-1) 0 0 0 7 = 7
1 / 5:11 – Tuscarora TD (Noah Reimers 3-yd run; Finley Underhill kick)
2 / 6:56 – Tuscarora TD (Noah Reimers 12-yd run; Finley Underhill kick)
2 / 1:02 – Tuscarora TD (Daniel Smith 20-yd run; Finley Underhill kick)
3 / 8:10 – Tuscarora TD (Noah Reimers 7-yd run; kick missed)
3 / 4:40 – Tuscarora TD (Daniel Smith 45-yd pass to Noah Reimers; Finley Underhill kick)
3 / 1:08 – Tuscarora TD (Jason Chubbuck 17-yd fumble return; Finley Underhill kick)
4 / 7:37 – Woodgrove TD (Billy Sheehan 1-yd run; Tyler Kennedy kick)
Woodgrove High School, Purcellville, Va. (September 5, 2014) — If it wasn’t decided with a minute left in the second quarter — when the Tuscarora Huskies gobbled up chunks of yards on successive plays to take a 21-0 lead over their hosts — then it was definitely decided in the third, when the Huskies found paydirt three different ways to gain a commanding 41-point advantage.
“We’ve been talking all week about how we think we’ve been better than Woodgrove the past couple years,” Tuscarora’s junior quarterback Daniel Smith said. Then he invoked a motto that his head coach had employed when he was at the helm of Broad Run High School’s state title teams in 2008 and ’09.
“Tonight we really wanted to leave no doubt. That was our message the whole week: Leave no doubt.”
On proverbial paper, it may have appeared somewhat even. Each program is five years old, and each produced a nine-win season last year, with each making a deep playoff run. Each opened 2014 with resounding blowout victories. Each has a three-headed monster on offense, comprised of a smart quarterback, durable featured running back and tall primary wide receiver, with each triumvirate aided by massive offensive lines. Each has an experienced, proven head coach named Mike.
But off the paper, on the field, Tuscarora was better the whole way.
Noah Reimers rushed for three touchdowns and caught a fourth, and Smith executed the Huskies’ weapon-laden, highly multiple offense with hardly a miscue. The visitors racked up 41 unanswered points to initiate a running clock before the third quarter was done.
Meanwhile, the Huskies’ defense — led by senior tackle Will Larson and junior nose guard Parker Jackson — bent but didn’t break until more than four minutes into the final quarter.
“I just love watching how our kids are playing right now. We knew this would be a talented team, but it’s more the energy and passion they’re playing with,” Tuscarora head coach Michael Burnett said. “You see it when they’re flying all over the field. I couldn’t be happier with the way they’re carrying themselves.”
His opposite number was complimentary of the Huskies’ performance, while being sure to note that Tuscarora is a 5A program with a deeper talent pool than 4A Woodgrove.
“I think they’re really good. They have a nice team. That quarterback is the difference,” Wolverines head coach Mike Skinner said. “I thought we defended Reimers pretty good, at least initially. We moved the ball a little bit. We’re gonna be okay. We’re doing the things that we need to do to play Division 4 football. We’re not a Division 5 team.”
Tuscarora’s mammoth offensive line — headed by Noah Klemm, David Chalmers, Jack Corso, Adam Benalayat and Anson Brasselle — controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the ballgame. Reimers — whose strength and speed doesn’t require much running room — was provided ample space. The senior running back was fed the ball early and often, toting the mail for more than half the snaps of an 11-play opening possession.
Reimers broke off a 26-yard scamper with his fifth carry, setting up a short touchdown run behind a wall of blockers on the next snap.
The Huskies’ first drive of the second quarter much resembled their first drive in the first, as Reimers scored after a long Reimers. This time, the setup play was a spectacular one-handed leaping grab to haul in a 24-yard reception, converting a third down and setting up his subsequent 12-yard score straight up the middle.
Smith got into the act late in the first half. After the Huskies raced to the Woodgrove 20 using big-yardage plays from himself, Reimers and big senior receiver Jordan Fisher, Smith took the shotgun snap, sauntered left, saw a wide-open half of the field and sprinted right, away from his blockers and untouched into the end zone.
Woodgrove was able to move the ball. Junior running back Charlie Clewis ably carried the load, and senior QB Billy Sheehan threw to senior receiver Dylan Mellor for big gainers as the Wolverines managed first downs in each of their first four possessions. But drives consistently stalled in Tuscarora territory.
Reimers began the second half the way he did the first, concluding a methodical hurry-up march down the field with a touchdown rush. The following possession was more of the same, with Reimers doing the scoring honors a different way. Near midfield, Smith hit Reimers with a quick pass into the flat. Reimers shed aside one tackle, then used pure speed to pull away from three Woodgrove defenders for a 45-yard TD, the longest play of the night.
The teams traded turnovers late in the third, but the home side came out on the short end of the exchange. Uzoma Kpaduwa picked off a Smith deep ball, setting the Wolverines up on their own 12. But two plays later, Clewis fumbled at the 17, and the ball bounced up into the arms of senior defensive back Jason Chubbuck, who was escorted into the end zone by a ring of teammates.
Woodgrove finally cracked their goose egg in the fourth. Following a nice kickoff return by Mikey Bryant, Clewis pounded the ball for runs of 5, 5, 3, 6, 4 and 2 yards, and Sheehan finished off the Wolverines’ best drive of the game with a one-yard sneak up the middle.
Burnett had spoken prior to the season that he believed his offense would be more dynamic than ever during his five years with Tuscarora. After putting up 81 points in the team’s first two games, Smith had to agree.
“I think this year we can do a lot, on the ground, through the air. We’re going to be tough to stop because we’re so versatile,” said the quarterback about his offense.
Then he joked, “It’s not as complex as it may look, but I’m glad it looks complex because that makes me look smarter, right?”
Tuscarora stats —
Rushing: Noah Reimers 23-128, 3 TD; Daniel Smith 7-53, 1 TD; Nicolas Speroni 3-32; Ishmael Williams 5-29; Derek Larson 3-1; Jason Holder 2-(-2)
Passing: Daniel Smith 8 of 12 for 143, 1 TD, 1 INT
Receiving: Noah Reimers 3-75, 1 TD; Jordan Fisher 3-59; Nicolas Speroni 1-5; Duron Norris 1-4
Woodgrove stats —
Rushing: Charlie Clewis 30-118; Billy Sheehan 6-11, 1 TD; Kade Lambert 2-14; Mike Kovich 2-2; Chima Kpaduwa 1-(-2)
Passing: Billy Sheehan 11 of 25 for 125; Mike Kovich 2 of 5 for 7
Receiving: Dylan Mellor 8-89; Mikey Bryant 4-43; Kyle Branch 1-(-5)
Other scores —
Potomac Falls 28, Heritage 13
Broad Run 30, Dominion 6
Loudoun Valley 38, James Wood 0
Loudoun County 61, Freedom 0
Colonial Forge 27, Briar Woods 20
Manassas Park 24, Park View 0
Lake Braddock 13, Stone Bridge 9
Loudoun Valley JV 8, Rock Ridge JV 7
Off-weeks for: John Champe
Written by Jason S Rufner