Leesburg, Va. – A week removed from a tough overtime loss to Dulles District foe Dominion High School, the Heritage High School football team knew what they needed to execute in order to bounce back to .500 in the district. So when Loudoun Valley came to Leesburg on September 28, the Pride got back to the basics. A few early scores put Heritage in motion and its defense held steady as the Pride never looked back in a 35-6 win over the Vikings.
“We came back together as a team,” Heritage senior athlete Alex Kovacs said. “We fought, and we fought.”
After the Pride defense stuffed the Vikings on their opening first drive, junior quarterback Brett Johnson quickly got to work, leading his team down field. Heritage’s balanced offensive attack ended with a score through the air as Johnson found senior receiver Gio Siegler over top of double coverage in the back corner of the end zone.
That 12-yard touchdown pass would be Johnson’s first and shortest of the game. Following a Loudoun Valley turnover early in the second quarter, Johnson connected with sophomore receiver Max Jannes for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Then, late in the third quarter, after penalties forced the Pride into a 1st-and-30, Johnson shuffled a pass off to senior running back Cory Douglas who got a couple good blocks and broke a few tackles on his way to a 68-yard touchdown.
“Brett’s very mobile. He’s obviously got a strong arm, and he’s very accurate,” Heritage interim head coach Kevin Copley said. “He does a great job of getting out of the pocket and finding the receivers open down the field.”
Heritage supplemented Johnson’s ability to make plays happen with a downhill running game led by Kovacs and Douglas, who helped consistently put the Pride in manageable down and distance situations.
With seven minutes left in the game, Kovacs helped on the defensive end, scooping up a fumble and returning it 27 yards for a touchdown as the Pride extended their lead to 35-0.
“We played more as a team on defense. We made tackles and had good fundamentals,” Kovacs said. “We played above each of us individually. We played as a family.”
Heritage continues to build on that family culture, laid out by former head coach Reed Prosser over the past five seasons. Just a few weeks before the 2018 season kicked off, Prosser accepted a job as the Director of Student Activities at his alma mater John Handley High School, leaving the Pride with what appeared to be a major transition heading into Week 1.
However, Copley – who has been Heritage’s defensive coordinator for the past few seasons – stepped in and made it clear to his team that the foundation the coaching staff had laid was stable and that not much was going to change.
“We said from day one nothing was going to change. e’ve tweaked a few things here and there, but we didn’t want the kids to feel like there was going to be a big change when Reed left,” Copley said. “We appreciate what Coach Prosser did, and we’re just looking to continue to move things forward.”
Next up for Heritage (4-2) is a Homecoming match up with William Monroe on October 5. Loudoun Valley (0-4) will look to pick up its first win of the season when the Vikings travel to undefeated Loudoun County (5-0) on October 5 in Leesburg.
“I’m excited every week just to be out here, to be able to play, to be able to have fun with my teammates and my family,” Kovacs said. “We just have to keep playing the best we can.”
1Q 7:05 H Brett Johnson to Gio Siegler 12-yard TD pass (Henriquez PAT)
1Q 1:46 H Alex Kovacs 2-yard TD run (Henriquez PAT)
2Q 10:46 H Brett Johnson to Max Jannes 22-yard TD pass (Henriquez PAT)
3Q 2:05 H Brett Johnson to Cory Douglas 68-yard TD pass (Henriquez PAT)
4Q 7:06 H Alex Kovacs 27-yard fumble recovery TD (Henriquez PAT)
4Q 0:00 LV Hayden Loussedes to Shane Washko 6-yard TD pass (PAT not attempted)