By Brandon Ford
LEESBURG- The Tuscarora Huskies wrapped up their second season of existence with a record of 9-3 (6-2 in the district) and a berth in the playoffs, the first in the history of the program. Throughout the season, the Huskies used a ground based offense, which was led by senior Cameron Molina, who ran for 1292 yards and 18 touchdowns on 219 carries. The Huskies are had a stifling defense, which only allowed 18 points per game and held opponents to ten points or under five times this season. The Huskies also faced some tough competition this year, as they faced teams such as the defending state champions Briar Woods, Loudoun County and Heritage. Their three loses this year were all nothing to be ashamed of, since the combined record of the opponents that defeated them was 33-6.
The Huskies opening up the season against Millbrook, who they soundly defeated 27-10 behind an astounding 286 yards rushing by Adrein Stinger, Warren Miles, Cameron Molina, Edwin Mends, Josh Middleton and Chad Carrerra. The Huskies rolled into Brentsville two weeks later and mauled them, winning by the score of 52-8 behind Cameron Molina’s 125 yards rushing and three touchdowns on eight carries. Quarterback Chad Carrerra also had a good game as well, throwing for 122 yards on five for six passing and two touchdowns. The next week, Cameron Molina ran for 192 yards and two touchdowns as the Huskies downed Dulles District foe Loudoun Valley 28-14.
The next week was perhaps one of the most anticipated showdowns in the short history of Tuscarora football, as the Loudoun County Raiders visited Tuscarora in a showdown of Leesburg rivals. The Huskies were looking for revenge after a 49-0 clobbering at the hands of the Raiders last season. “We entered the game with a different mindset” senior Edwin Mends said. “After we lost to them last year, we basically had no choice but to win”.
The Huskies jumped out to an early 13-0 at the end of the first quarter and by the time the final whistle sounded, the Tuscarora Huskies had defeated the Loudoun County Raiders 16-9, a far cry from the 49-0 Raiders victory last year. Cameron Molina ran for 111 yards and one touchdown, while wide receiver Alden Carpenter had a standout game, catching four passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.
The next game was against the defending state champions, the Briar Woods Falcons and the Huskies suffered their first defeat of the season 38-0. The Huskies responded in their next game with a 32-19 win over the Potomac Falls Panthers, where Quarterback Chad Carrerra had a stand out game, going 20 for 29 with two touchdowns and 310 yards. Edwin Mends was the leading receiver in the game, catching four passes for eighty nine yards and a touchdown.
The next week was Tuscarora’s second annual homecoming against the Park View Patriots. Most fans were expecting an easy victory but this anything but that, but the Huskies offense came out flat and by halftime, the game was scoreless at halftime. The Patriots took a 3-0 lead going into the fourth quarter and it seemed that an upset was on the horizon for the Huskies. However, that was not to be, as the Huskies outscored the Patriots 13-6 in the final quarter for the 13-9 victory, where Adrein Stinger scored the game winning touchdown on a four yard run.
The Huskies rolled past their next two opponents, defeating the Dominion Titans 27-7 and the Woodgrove Wolverines 43-28. The final regular season game was a home game against their other Leesburg rival, the Heritage Pride. The game was a high scoring affair and the Huskies took a late 28-24 lead when Edwin Mends returned a fumble eighty one yards for a touchdown. However, the Pride marched down the field and scored a touchdown to take the lead 31-28 and the Pride defense held off a late drive by the Huskies to take the victory, with the final score being 31-28.
The next week, the Huskies had their first ever home playoff game against Warren County. The game was a low scoring affair until the fourth quarter, where the Huskies outscored Warren County 21-7 and ended up winning the game 28-21 behind Cameron Molina’s 123 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. The Huskies advanced to the second round where they faced undefeated Kettle Run, who ended their season by the score of 32-0.
“We are proud of our players” Head Coach Michael Burnett. “Wins and losses mean less than the effort and commitment that our players show throughout the year. This was a great group of people who we are very proud of. The fact that we went 9-3 is just a testament to their passion, discipline and commitment. I anticipate similar results for the years to come given the character of the younger members of our team as well.”
Making the playoffs is very impressive for a team that is only in its second season in existence. The process was difficult, as Coach Burnett describes.
“The biggest challenge is getting players to realize the benefits of hard work.” He said. “Most programs don’t put in the time and effort that we do, and getting kids to come every day all year long to prepare for the fall is a difficult process. The other challenge is getting the community support, and that is what was so great about this season. Our student section was better than any other school that we faced and that is amazing at a new school. We are very grateful for the support our students gave us throughout the season.”
The main difference between last year’s team and this year’s team was, according to Coach Burnett “Experience”. “Last year, none of our kids had been on the field in any meaningful varsity action and at times that showed. This year was a different story. Our players knew what to expect out there and were very prepared. They worked extremely hard in the off season and that hard work was rewarded.”