If the season ended now, with the regular season complete but the playoffs ahead, the campaign would be considered a big success for the Yorktown Patriots.
With the high-school football team’s 23-9 home victory over the Washington-Liberty Generals on Nov. 6, Yorktown capped its 10-game schedule with a 7-3 overall record, a five-game winning streak, an outright Liberty District championship with a 6-0 league mark, a first-round home region playoff-game and an unofficial Arlington County championship.
Yorktown is the county’s best this fall thanks to victories over county rivals W-L, and Wakefield earlier in the season.
“People from other areas might not understand, but for us in Arlington, it’s a big deal to win a district title, earn a playoff berth and be the county champions,” Yorktown coach Bruce Hanson said. “We’ve had a very good season so far. You can’t expect more than that.”
The district championship is Yorktown’s second in three seasons and the county crown its fourth in a row.
Yorktown never trailed against W-L (2-8, 2-4) in the district clash, taking a 6-0 first-quarter lead on a 30-yard James Yoest to Mason Cunningham (five catches, 82 yards) touchdown pass with 8:13 left in the period, as the extra point was blocked. The Patriots led 13-3 at halftime and 16-3 after three periods.
Yoest led the offense by throwing for a touchdown, running for two more of six and 24 yards, rushing for 29 yards and competing 7 of 11 passes for 82 yards.
“We just played Yorktown football and we were motivated for this game,” Yoest said. “W-L played us well and were tough on defense.”
Yorktown had 271 total yards, with 189 on the ground, gained by multiple runners. Xandar Starks ran for 53, Miles Fang for 50, James Midberry for 30, Yoest had his 29 and Tyler Randles 18.
Also scoring for Yorktown was kicker Tomas Edmeades with a 20-yard field goal and two extra points.
The Patriots did not turn the ball over.
“James [Yoest] is the X-factor for us out there and he is special,” Hanson said. “They [W-L] had some strong defensive line play and stopped us on some things. But James can create and make a play out of nothing, and he did that a few times.”
Hanson took the blame for not scoring more points when Yorktown had other opportunities.
Washington-Liberty was limited on offense because top runningback Jackson Broadwell was injured and did not play. The Generals amassed 137 total yards, with just 26 rushing.
In Broadwell’s absence, the Generals tried various offensive attacks and formations without consistent success. Four different players threw passes for W-L.
“Our defense played lights out, and on offense we tried everything hoping something would work,” W-L coach Josh Shapiro said. “We couldn’t keep the ball or sustain anything.”
Washington-Liberty’s points came on a 23-yard first-quarter field goal by Anthony Qeballos-Medina and a fourth-quarter 16-yard touchdown pass from Jack Myers to Michael Dertke.
Starting quarterback Ryan Jones was 7 of 13 passing for 55 yards and an interception and Myers was 3 of 5 for 24 and the TD toss. Runningback Herbert Sovula and wide receiver Quinn Brennan (three catches, 29 yards) threw option passes for W-L.
JoJo Sovula had two catches and rushed for 11 yards; Herbert Sovula ran for six, Myers ran for 14 and had two catches for 16, and Jay Barolo caught two passes for 37.
On defense for Washington-Liberty, Elijah had multiple tackles, including three sacks. That gave the junior lineman a single-season school record 13.5 sacks, breaking his record of 10.5 set last season. David Harris also had a sack for W-L, lineman Chris McCarnts made multiple tackles along with linebacker Kevin Cruz.
On defense for Yorktown, Michael Atubire had an interception and broke up a pass; Max Greenwell and Liam Anderson broke up passes; and making multiple tackles were Patrick Ferguson, Steffen Johnson, Max Colley, Jackson Heflin, Ryan Burnside, Gabriel Miller and Joshua Eckrole.
Yorktown will be the No. 4 seed in the 6D North Region tournament, hosting a first-round game against the fifth-seeded South Lakes Seahawks (5-5) Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
* The Wakefield Warriors (5-4) had a bye this past weekend but still earned a 6D North Region playoff berth as the No. 6 seed by not playing, and will face the host Westfield Bulldogs (5-5) in first-round action Nov. 12.
The playoff berth is a team-record third in a row for Wakefield, which had one regular-season game canceled because of COVID.
* The only high-school football team from Arlington in action Friday night, Nov. 5 was the Bishop O‚ÄôConnell Knights, who lost on the road to the Paul VI Catholic Panthers, 23-3, in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Metro Division clash.
O’Connell (5-5, 1-3) now enters the four-team division WCAC playoffs as the No. 4 seed and will face top seed Carroll (10-0, 4-0) in a semifinal game.
O’Connell gained just 136 total yards against Paul VI, which totaled 248 of its own, 202 on the ground. The Knights have lost the last three regular-season games against Paul VI.
NOTE: Yorktown has won nine straight games against Wakefield and W-L.