South Riding, Va (September 29, 2014) –
Final score –
Loudoun Valley Vikings (3-1) 21 21 7 7 56
Freedom Eagles (1-4) 0 0 0 6 6
1 / 11:48 – Loudoun Valley TD (Andrew Cordani 63-yd kickoff return; Aaron Peart kick)
1 / 7:15 – Loudoun Valley TD (Sully Warner 37-yd pass to Patrick Hopkins; Aaron Peart kick)
1 / 1:28 – Loudoun Valley TD (Andrew Cordani 3-yd run; Aaron Peart kick)
2 / 6:30 – Loudoun Valley TD (Andrew Cordani 8-yd run; Aaron Peart kick)
2 / 5:05 – Loudoun Valley TD (Andrew Cordani 20-yd run; Aaron Peart kick)
2 / 2:17 – Loudoun Valley TD (Joseph LaFont 48-yd punt return; Aaron Peart kick)
3 / 7:40 – Loudoun Valley TD (Elijah Cooper 76-yd run; Aaron Peart kick)
4 / 11:42 – Loudoun Valley TD (Elijah Cooper 2-yd run; Aaron Peart kick)
4 / 4:38 – Freedom TD (Tylor Rael 2-yd run; 2-pt failed)
Freedom High School, South Riding, Va. (September 26, 2014) — Twelve seconds into the game, the Loudoun Valley Vikings had scored all the points they would need to take home a win when Andrew Cordani returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. But they went ahead anyway and added another 49 points, claiming a resounding victory on the road versus the Freedom Eagles.
When their hosts did get the ball, the visitors treated them ungraciously, sacking them on third down and blocking their punt. The short field allowed Valley senior quarterback Sully Warner, on the first snap he took, to drop a perfect spiral into the lap of Patrick Hopkins who was running alone through the end zone.
“We were focused on doing our stuff and I think we did a great job tonight, executing our basic plays and just playing hard,” said Vikings coach Anthony Long. “It was an all-around team effort, and I think we got to build our depth which will be good for us.”
Cordani scored four touchdowns, three rushing out of the backfield, all in the first half. His backup, fellow senior Elijah Cooper, started the second half and immediately put his own mark on the game, bursting through the line, juking one defender and outrunning the others for a 76-yard TD on his first touch of the night.
“Elijah’s done a great job for us, and it’s hard because he’s behind Cordani, who’s a great running back,” said Long of the power back tandem of Cordani and Cooper, each of whom scampered for exactly 105 yards. “We’d like to get [Cooper] more touches, and going forward we probably will do that.”
In spite of the wide margin on the scoreboard, the homestanding Eagles made certain they would not be blanked for the fourth time this year. With their final possession, senior QB Tylor Rael constructed an impressive 80-yard drive that consumed much of the fourth quarter and culminated in his two-yard scoring plunge up the middle.
Facing third down from the Vikings’ 18-yard line, Rael’s number was again called and he again ran with it, looking for room to the right as Viking defenders crashed. Rael’s feet jutted toward the line, ball in his left hand — then he jutted back, switched the ball behind his back from his left to his right hand, then slipped through the narrow hole created by his sleight of hand and picked his way to the 3-yard line.
The deft maneuver generated oohs from the Freedom crowd at first, followed by one of the night’s biggest cheers — exceeded only by the Eagles’ touchdown two plays later.
“He’s a gutsy kid, one of our leaders,” said Freedom coach Jared Van Acker of Rael, who was absent for most of this week’s practice as his family had travelled to Missouri for his grandfather’s funeral. “We’re still at the ground stage of building this program, but those are the types of kids that you can build a program around.”
Rael was a bright spot for Freedom. The right-handed senior captain completed the first five passes he attempted with an accurate, catchable delivery. The Eagles managed 10 first downs and did not commit a penalty until well into the second half.
But the bulk of the contest belonged convincingly to the visitors from Purcellville. The Vikings stuffed Rael behind the line of scrimmage five times, with Tanner McClelland sacking the Eagle quarterback twice. On 15 snaps, Valley’s defense held Freedom to zero or negative yardage.
Late in the first half, as a pair of first downs crossed Freedom over mid-field, senior safety Dalton Smolens drove in front of a Rael pass for an interception, snuffing out the drive on behalf of Valley.
The Vikings owned a tremendous edge in field position. Valley’s first four possessions began in Freedom territory, each drive ending via touchdown.
“There were a lot of things in there, execution-wise, that we’re hurting ourselves on,” Van Acker said. “When you let a great team like Loudoun Valley or any team we’re going to face get any leeway, it’s going to bite you…. The key thing is execution.”
Photo album of Friday’s game is available here.
Loudoun Valley stats –
Rushing: Andrew Cordani 12-105, 3 TDs; Elijah Cooper 7-105, 2 TDs; Tyler Stipancic 4-2; Sully Warner 1-5; Jacob Stapleton 2-(-2)
Passing: Sully Warner 3 of 5 for 55, 1 TD
Receiving: Patrick Hopkins 2-42, 1 TD; Alex Schray 1-13
Freedom stats –
Rushing: Tylor Rael 25-66, 1 TD; Brett Dineen 8-3; Mohammad Qadiri 1-4; Jaren Billups 1-(-1)
Passing: Tylor Rael 7 of 10 for 79, 1 INT
Receiving: Jon Tannery 2-22; Brett Dineen 2-19; Ajay Patel 2-17; Jaren Billups 1-21
Other scores –
Briar Woods 35, Woodgrove 14
Broad Run 38, Liberty 35
John Champe 48, Caroline 7
Potomac Falls 35, Park View 7
Stone Bridge 28, James Madison 17
Tuscarora 61, Heritage 14
Rock Ridge JV 39, Marshall JV 8 (Tuesday)
Off-weeks for: Dominion, Loudoun County
Written by Jason S Rufner