By Michael Pittinger
Sterling (August 31, 2015) — On a night that Park View High School celebrated the official opening of their new turf field, they held off a late comeback attempt from Manassas Park High School to win 26-21. This win marks the first for Patriots head coach Mick Mullins since returning to Park View last season.
“I’m excited. I mean it’s a big win. It was a big event. We were worried about all the hoopla beforehand, and I had to really talk to them to focus, focus, focus,” Mullins said. “We have to dig in and grind. It’s never over, it’s always a grind. But for tonight, for right now I’m very excited and happy for Sterling Park, happy for the community, proud to be a part of it.”
The Patriots first found the end zone with 26 seconds left in the first quarter after senior quarterback Chase Jefferson found room on the outside and took it 67 yards for the score to give the Patriots an early 7-0 lead.
“It feels great. Of course it wasn’t just me, the whole offensive line, everybody on the team pushed through and that’s what got me there,” Jefferson said. “If there was no blocking, I wouldn’t have gotten anything. The whole eight months we’ve been preparing for finally paid off tonight.”
On the last play of the first quarter the Patriots sacked Manassas Park quarterback Sean Kapus who fumbled the ball, which the Patriots recovered.
The Patriots would make the Cougars pay for turning the ball over just five plays later. Park View handed the ball off to junior running back Nikolai Hopkins for a 3-yard touchdown run, to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. Park View would head into halftime up 14-0 over the Cougars.
It only took the Cougars 51 seconds in the third quarter to score and cut the lead in half at 14-7 when Manassas Park sophomore quarterback Sean Kapus ran for a 52-yard touchdown run.
The Cougars would continue their comeback by capping off a 50-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by Kapus in the fourth quarter.
Manassas Park would force the Patriots to go three and out on their next drive where the Cougars would take advantage of the good field position and score again when they handed it off to senior running back Tyler Williams from two yards out.
“I think we were surprised when we were up. We’ve got to learn to finish. We’ve got to learn to end the game sooner. I think we got a little nervous about being ahead, so we have to learn how to handle success as well.”
The Patriots were able to recover the onside kick from Manassas Park and run the clock out, to seal their first victory in over two years – which happened under former head coach Ferris Eways against John Champe on Nov. 8, 2013.
“These guys put in a ton of work all offseason. Everybody told us we couldn’t do it. Everybody told me that you’ll never win there,” Mullins said. “It’s one game, but it’s a huge game to win for us, and we just have to keep getting better.”
The Patriots head to Winchester to take on James Wood High School on September 4.
“We play a tough team next week. I’ll tell the guys when they come in the next day, that it’s a one game season now,” Mullins said. “That game is over, and now we have to play James Wood and that’s a big, strong, physical team. They have a lot of good athletes; they’ve got a lot of playmakers.”
1Q PV Chase Jefferson 67-yard TD run (Lampe PAT)
2Q PV Nikolai Hopkins 3-yard TD run (Lampe PAT)
3Q MP Sean Kapus 52-yard TD run (Alfaro PAT)
3Q PV Chase Jefferson 72-yard TD run (PAT failed)
4Q PV Chase Jefferson 44-yard TD run (PAT failed)
4Q MP Sean Kapus 2-yard TD run (Alfaro PAT)
4Q MP Tyler Williams 2-yard TD run (Alfaro PAT)