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(Sept. 26, 2013) – A rivalry is defined as a competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field. Add to that a mixture of close proximity and rabid fan bases, and it’s clear that Loudoun County is home to a growing number of great rivalries, as teams vie for local supremacy and bragging rights. But who has the best football rivalry in the county? This week we take a look at four of the best, but do you agree? Tell us in the comments section what your favorite football rivalry is in Loudoun County.
Loudoun Valley Vikings vs. Woodgrove Wolverines
This game is a little bit about football, and a lot about a school and a town divided by growth and expansion. For years, Loudoun Valley was the only high school in the truly western portion of the county. The school grew to more than 2,000 students and developed a strong football program, but eventually became overcrowded and a second area school was needed. As chronicled in a great article by Ethan Rothstein and Gaelyn Foster which can be found here, court battles ensued over the eventual location for the new school, and it was against this backdrop that the two teams squared off in their first varsity game in 2010. More than 4,000 fans filled the stadium and saw the Vikings pull away with a 51-0 victory, one that some felt was an act of piling on the points against the new school in town.
Since that time nerves have calmed and the competition has evened, with the Wolverines pulling off one-score victories each of the last two years, including a wild win in 2011 when Loudoun Valley, attempting to run out the clock at midfield with a 21-16 lead and less than a minute to go, fumbled the ball and the Wolverines returned it to the Viking 5 and scored the game-winner with 45 seconds left . The teams will close out their respective regular seasons on Nov. 8 at Loudoun Valley, as they try to help their schools capture this year’s Western Cup.
Briar Woods Falcons vs. Broad Run Spartans
Perhaps no local matchup has featured more big time, high-stakes games in recent years than those pitted between Ashburn rivals Briar Woods and Broad Run. While the teams have squared off since 2007, it was the 2010 season that really ratcheted things up a notch for these local football titans (no offense to Dominion). As winners of two straight state championships and sporting a 33-game winning streak, the Spartans traveled to Brambleton that October evening to face a 3-2 Falcon team they had never lost to. Add to that the fact that the Falcons were starting a freshmen quarterback who no one had really heard of before, and the Spartans seemed destined for yet another victory. But by nights end, Ashburn witnessed what turned out to be a bit of a changing of the guard locally.
Led by nearly 200 yards passing by that freshmen quarterback ,Trace McSorley, the Falcons pulled out the improbable 20-13 win. The two teams would square off again in the playoffs, and once again McSorley and the Falcons held off the Spartans in a thrilling 24-21 win that propelled the Falcons to their first of three straight state championships. But the Spartans would gain a bit of revenge early the following season when they shut out the Falcons 14-0 on a strong game from quarterback Connor Jessop and the Spartan defense. Until last week’s loss to North Stafford, that was the Falcons last loss as they went on their own 32-game winning streak, which was nearly ended a year before by the same Spartans before the Falcons pulled off a 20-15 come from behind win. Perhaps most importantly, the past few contests have been dubbed a “Battle for a Better Cause,” with both schools combining efforts to raise money for worthy causes, such as the Ryan Diviney Special Needs Trust and juvenile diabetes research is honor of Cameron Carter. With all of these great games the last few years you cannot miss this season’s matchup at Briar Woods on Oct. 18.
Stone Bridge Bulldogs vs. Broad Run Spartans
Last Friday night, high school football fans in and around Ashburn had the good fortune of playing host to what is becoming a mini-pop culture event in the area: The Battle of the ‘Burn, pitting cross-town rivals Broad Run and Stone Bridge against each other in a slugfest of two powerhouse programs. Although the Bulldogs were able to run away with a convincing 33-14 win last week—and in fact have never lost to in their seven contests against the Spartans—this now annual match up may have seen the area’s best game when they met two years ago. Trailing 24-0 at halftime in their own stadium, and with a host of media and Washington Redskins crowding the sidelines, the Bulldogs rode the momentum of a third quarter goal line stand and the ensuing 99-yard touchdown drive to a remarkable 31-30 overtime win. In addition to the intense local interest this game spawns, the game features an intriguing subplot as Stone Bridge head coach Mickey Thompson faces his former assistant coach Matt Griffis who now heads the Spartan program. And Thompson is a graduate of Broad Run to boot. If you missed this year’s contest do not make the same mistake next season.
Tuscarora Huskies vs. Loudoun County Raiders
The Huskies and Raiders annual game may be the area’s most evenly matched. Better known as “The Battle of the ‘Burg,” the teams are an even 2-2 in the relatively short history of this clash of Leesburg area teams, but the rivalry really took off last season. The Huskies claimed an early season 21-7 victory with a great defensive performance and strong running by Noah Reimers, but the Raiders got their revenge when senior quarterback Jake Lokey tossed three touchdown passes to lead the Raiders to a 30-21 playoff win that sent the school to its first regional final since 1996.
Will the Huskies be able to avenge that playoff loss this year, with Reimers and last years starting quarterback Nick Azzarita still on the roster? Or will the Raiders maintain bragging rights in Leesburg for another year? The only way to find out is to show up at the game on Oct. 4 at Tuscarora.