Raiders Feel the Bite

By: Danny Sedlezak
Leesburg, VA-Seemingly out of nowhere, a thick fog settles on the Tuscarora High School football field. With less than a minute left, Loudoun County quarterback Jake Lokey takes the snap, looks nearly 50 yards down the field, and airs the ball to his favorite target, Brad Szoka. Yet in mid-air, it already appears to be too late.  The ball lands right in the hands of a Tuscarora defender, and the crowd erupts in cheers. The victory was sealed, and the Huskies had prevailed.
While young, the Tuscarora and Loudoun County rivalry is heated, and this game was a reflection of that. Both teams played tough defense, where every play attempted to exploit one sliver in each other’s armor.
The Huskies hit hard with the first score, thanks to Cameron Molina’s 29 yard run that caught the county defense off guard. The first blood had been drawn, and there was a lull until halfway through the second quarter. Under pressure, Husky’s quarterback Chad Carrerra threw a quick slant that seemed as if it would barely stretch 5 yards. But when the cornerback missed his tackle, the wide out ran nearly 70 yards down field for a second Husky score, giving them the 13-0 lead.
The Raiders retaliated with a pass play of over 60 yards to put Antonio Rutherford in position for a quick run in. They, however, could not capitalize on the extra point, putting the game within a score. The Huskies kept County at bay with a Will Prendergast field goal, ending the half with a 16-6 score that favored Tuscarora.
The second half amplified the defense to an entire other level. Both teams frequently had to punt the ball away. The pass game was shut down on both sides, causing both teams to run the ball into the ground. To keep the tension high, the Raiders and the Huskies both went for 4th down multiple times within the third quarter.
The scoring lull of the third quarter was broken when the Raiders kicked a field goal with less than five minutes remaining to that put the fate of the game within a score. After penalties prevented the Huskies from running down the clock, Loudoun County attempts to rip through the end zone one more time. The final play, the interception described earlier, had the Raiders on the verge of tears, and the Huskies on the verge of tears of joy.
The game came down to defensive errors, whether it was Tuscarora’s spotty coverage at times, or Loudoun County’s failed tackling, every major play of the game came down to who made the fewest mistakes. In the end, Tuscarora was the more perfect team who deserved the win.