By Owen Gotimer
Purcellville (Nov. 29, 2014) – Playing the last game of a high school career is tough for anybody, but the seniors at Loudoun Valley High School made the most of their opportunity in their season ending, 34-19, loss to James Monroe High School in the VHSL 3A East region semifinal as senior quarterback Sully Warner threw two touchdown passes, senior receivers Michael Irving and Ryan Malsch each caught a touchdown pass and senior running back Andrew Cordani found the end zone on the ground in front of a home crowd at Leonard Field in Purcellville.
“Back-to-back region semifinal appearances just sets the bar real high. The seniors did that,” Loudoun Valley acting head coach Anthony Long said. “We’re excited about how well everybody played. Our team did a great job this year coming together through all the adversity. They did an awesome job.”
Loudoun Valley looked good early as Cordani marched the Viking offense down the field with ease scoring with three minutes left in the first frame. Warner hit Irving with a touchdown pass early in the second quarter and seemed to be in motion, but James Monroe fought back and eventually took a two-score lead.
Trailing 28-13 with just under six minutes left in the game, the Vikings capped a one-minute-and-three-second drive with a touchdown as Warner found Malsch in the back of the end zone to put Loudoun Valley within striking distance.
“We all really stepped up this season,” Malsch said. “Last year it hurt to lose in the state semifinals so we really wanted to get it this year.”
However, Malsch and Warner’s rally-starting connection was too little too late as the James Monroe Yellow Jacket offense proved to be too much to handle.
“That was the big difference. When the game got to two possessions, the game was in their hands,” Long said. “If we could have kept the lead, it’s a different game where we could have slowed it down and grinded it out. We were overpowering them. They just had a little too much speed.”
The Yellow Jackets’ speed came in the form of senior running back Vincent Eura – who ran for two scores – and senior quarterback Jay Scroggins – who ran for two touchdowns and threw for one.
“He’s like a coach on the field. I wouldn’t want any other quarterback out on the field for my team. He carries our offense,” James Monroe head coach Rich Serbay said. “They’re front four was the most physical front four we’ve seen all year long. Our kid took the challenge and moved the ball really well.”
Serbay noted the game was not easy for the Yellow Jackets as the Vikings were as tough of a team as he had ever seen.
“They’re one of the best football teams we’ve played in a long while. Cordani is a great running back. Warner is a super quarterback,” Serbay said. “All week long we were nervous because these guys are good. They’re well coached. They’re fundamentally sound. We beat a heck of a football program.”
The Loudoun Valley football team will graduate 22 seniors this June, and Long acknowledged their efforts over their four seasons with the Vikings is the reason the program has turned around.
“This was an awesome season for these kids. They played their butts off every week, every single practice. They always stayed focused. It was more than anything we ever could have asked for as a staff.”
1Q 3:49 LV Andrew Cordani 6-yard TD run (Schray PAT)
1Q 0:18 JM Vincent Eura 10-yard TD run (Larme PAT)
2Q 7:58 LV Sully Warner to Michael Irving 17-yard TD pass (PAT blocked)
2Q 6:26 JM Jay Scroggins to Keyshawn Johnson 40-yard TD pass (Larme PAT)
3Q 1:04 JM Jay Scroggins 2-yard TD run (Larme PAT)
4Q 5:40 JM Vincent Eura 4-yard TD run (Larme PAT)
4Q 4:37 LV Sully Warner to Ryan Malsch 13-yard TD pass (2-pt failed)
4Q 2:24 JM Jay Scroggins 24-yard TD run (2-pt failed)
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently in his senior year at Syracuse University. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.