Purcellville, Va. — Coming off an August 29 loss to rival Woodgrove, the Loudoun Valley High School football team wanted to bounce back and score early when they hosted Riverside High School in their Week 2 matchup on September 6. On just the second play from scrimmage, Loudoun Valley did just that as senior running back Will Degn carried the ball 58 yards to the house to give the Vikings a lead from which they’d never look back. When all was said and done, the Vikings had upended the Rams, 28-7.
“We knew we needed to grab the momentum, and we’d been talking all week about scoring first,” Degn said. “We were very happy to get the game started the way we did.”
After Degn’s early touchdown run, both offenses were relatively quiet as neither the Vikings nor the Rams scored again until four minutes into the second half. With just over eight minutes left in the third quarter, Loudoun Valley senior quarterback Caleb Smith found senior tight end Shane Washko in the corner of the endzone to extend the Vikings’ lead to 14.
Early in the fourth quarter, Smith connected again, this time with senior receiver Evan Davis on a 59-yard touchdown strike to add some insurance.
We’re going to focus on one game at a time, but after ten games, we’re expecting to have more wins than losses.
–Coach David Bishop
However, the first score by Degn would be all the cushion the Vikings’ defense would need. Led by senior defensive end Cooper Thunell, Loudoun Valley dominated the defensive line of scrimmage, pressuring Riverside senior quarterback A.J. Darr all night long.
“We changed our game plan defensively late in the week, so we could show something Riverside hadn’t seen before on film,” Loudoun Valley head coach David Bishop said. “Our kids executed and played lights out.”
With five minutes left in the game, the Vikings’ defensive effort proved fruitful as Loudoun Valley junior linebacker Tommy Gaertner recovered a fumble deep in Ram territory and returned it three yards for a touchdown.
The Vikings dominated both sides of the ball throughout the game – a refreshing change of pace for a Loudoun Valley team that finished 1-8 in 2018.
“I wanted our kids to experience success, because they worked their butts off all offseason,” Bishop said. “I thought we had a great game plan going in tonight, and our kids just executed on the field.”
Bishop – who took over the program prior to the season – has been pleased with the effort he has seen from his team through the first two weeks of the season.
“We opened up with a rivalry game against Woodgrove, and we fought our hearts out the whole game,” Bishop said. “The result wasn’t there, but it was something to build on.”
Degn credits Bishop and his coaching staff with getting the Vikings prepared for the season and for keeping spirits high following their 20-0 loss to Woodgrove to open the season.
“After Woodgrove, the coaches did a really good job of keeping the energy up. We were really excited for this game,” Degn said. “Once we passed the gate, we were in the zone.”
“We’re going to focus on one game at a time,” Bishop said. “But after ten games, we’re expecting to have more wins than losses.
|1Q||11:03||Loudoun Valley||Will Degn 58-yard TD run (Nick Van Zandt PAT)||7-0|
|3Q||8:08||Loudoun Valley||Caleb Smith to Shane Washko 19-yard TD pass (Nick Van Zandt PAT)||14-0|
|4Q||7:40||Loudoun Valley||Caleb Smith to Evan Davis 59-yard TD pass (Nick Van Zandt PAT)||21-0|
|4Q||5:17||Loudoun Valley||Tommy Gaertner 3-yard fumble recovery TD (Nick Van Zandt PAT)||28-0|
|4Q||4:35||Riverside||Will Butz to Jack Selman 58-yard TD pass (Ash PAT)||28-7|