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Defense fuels Loudoun County’s charge in 10-7 win versus Heritage

Loudoun County held Heritage off the scoreboard until the final minute of play in a 10-7 win.—Times-Mirror/Drew Hall
The Loudoun County Raiders defeated the Heritage Pride 10-7 in a surprising defensive clash Nov. 3 in Leesburg to claim a share of the Dulles District title and most likely secure a playoff bid.

The Raiders (7-3) finish the regular season with their first winning record since 2012.

Loudoun County looked to set the tone early. Junior running back David Harris started out strong, carrying the ball five times for 50 yards on the game’s opening drive to help the Raiders advance to the Pride's 14-yard line.

The scoring chance was denied when Loudoun County quarterback Nick Barts was intercepted by Heritage linebacker Chris Frank.

Loudoun County’s defense proceeded to shut down the Heritage offense until the final minute of the game. The Raiders forced four consecutive three-and-outs in the first half while limiting the Pride to less than 50 yards of total offense.

Loudoun County entered the contest averaging 33 points per game on offense, while allowing 25 points on average.

"We’re a bend but don’t break defense," Loudoun County head coach Tony Rayburn said. "Tonight, we stood up and we didn’t bend a whole lot. We played great defense. The kids just came out and executed."

Despite a significant advantage in time of possession and field position, the Raiders managed just one score midway through the second quarter. Barts was able to find receiver Cam Corbett for a touchdown on third-and-goal giving Loudoun County a 7-0 lead at halftime.

"I think everybody was uptight because it was a big game," Rayburn said. "The mentality was whatever it takes. Sometimes you’ve got to do it on offense, sometimes on defense."

After a stalemate in the third quarter, Heritage (7-3) finally found a groove. Quarterback Brett Johnson connected with receiver Tyrique Moss on consecutive plays through the air to reach the Raiders' 34-yard line.

Facing fourth-and-goal from the 11, the Pride appeared to be on the verge of tying the game when senior Austin Holland hauled a pass from Johnson in the end zone. A holding penalty on the Pride negated the touchdown and Heritage would eventually turn the ball over on downs.

"We prepapred all week for them. They have very quick receivers so we did a lot of seven-on-seven drills with our fastest guys," Loudoun County defensive back Dom Schuerholz said. "We just executed. It was a really good win for us."

Loudoun County kicker Cameron Carson extended the Raiders' lead late in the fourth quarter. After missing a field goal attempt late in the third, Carson connected on his next opportunity from 27 yards to push the advantage to 10-0 with just 2:30 left on the clock. Carson's field goal ended up providing the winning margin.

The Pride made things interesting with a late touchdown. The scoring drive culminated after a lengthy scramble by Johnson before he found Holland in the end zone with 46 seconds left.

The ensuing onside kick by Heritage was recovered by Loudoun County and sealed the win for the Raiders.

"Our offense is used to scoring a lot of points," Schuerholz said. "They win us a lot of games. The defense just made a stand and it was a clutch kick at the end by Cameron Carson."

Loudoun County finishes the regular season tied atop the Dulles District standings with Dominion at 5-1 in district play. The Virginia High School League will release the official playoff pairings on Sunday or Monday.

"I’m just proud of this team," Rayburn added. "They’ve grown up so much and they’ve learned to finish football games. I’m just really happy for them."

Loudoun County 10, Heritage 7

-Second Quarter
LC: Barts 8 pass to Corbett (Carson kick) 5:09

-Fourth Quarter
LC: Carson 27 Field Goal 2:30
H: Johnson 1 pass to Holland (Henriquez kick) 0:46

Offensive leaders

-Passing: LC – Barts (16 of 30 for 193 yards, TD, Int.); H – Johnson (12 of 26 for 148 yards, TD, Int.)

-Rushing: LC – Harris (29-124); H – Johnson (9-24)

-Receiving: LC – Corbett (6-90-1), Berard (5-46), Baah (3-29), Beal (2-28); H – Wooten (6-78), Moss (4-55), Maisus (1-14), Holland (1-1-1)

Photos by Drew Hall


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