Of the three Arlington football teams that participated in first-round 6D North Region tournament playoff games Nov. 11 and 12, the Yorktown Patriots rallied to win in the second half of their high-school contest, and the Washington-Liberty Generals and Bishop O’Connell Knights suffered blowout losses.
Yorktown (8-3) fell behind the host and Liberty District champion Langley Saxons, 14-0, in the first quarter, trailed 14-7 at halftime, then won 21-14 on Nov. 11 behind a powerful ground game that accounted for all of the team’s 314 total yards. The Patriots were 0-4 passing.
Washington-Liberty (5-6) lost to the host and Concorde District champion and two-time defending region champion Madison Warhawks, 56-6. Fourth-seed O’Connell (4-7) lost on the road in a semifinal game of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Metro Division playoffs to the top seed Carroll Lions, 48-6.
Yorktown lost to Langley in the opening game of the regular season and didn’t get off to a good start in the playoff contest. At that point, Yorktown head coach Bruce Hanson thought it could be a long night, and made a decision to stick strictly to the ground game.
“We couldn’t afford to waste a down doing anything else but running the ball, because I wanted us to keep getting first downs,” Hanson said. “So we kept the ball on the ground.”
Yorktown’s defense also toughened after the first quarter against Langley’s productive passing attack. The Patriots also benefited from a penalty that nullified a Langley touchdown and two missed field goals by the Saxons.
A 70-yard touchdown run up the middle by Miles Fang and the first of three extra points by Tomas Edmeades cut the Langley lead to 14-7.
“His long run gave us momentum,” Hanson said.
In the second half, Xandar Starks had scoring runs of seven and five yards to give Yorktown the lead. Those two scoring drives of 77 and 80 yards consisted of all running plays, 19 total.
Fang finished with 159 yards rushing on 13 carries and Starks 149 on 23. Quarterback James Yoest ran for eight.
“Xander runs it in there hard, and James broke that long run and our offensive line did a good job,” Hanson said.
The offensive line consists of Garrett Juergens, Daniel Sennott, Ryan Burnside, Charlie Williams, Henry Erkmann and Ben Lahlou.
On defense for Yorktown, Jackson Heflin had an interception off a tipped ball by defensive end James Midberry, his second of two in the game. Heflin also had a sack, as did Colin McCormack and Jackson Freeman-Moore.
Yorktown will face two-time defending champion Madison (8-3) in Vienna on Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in a region semifinal game. Yorktown defeated Madison, 14-11, in Arlington in the third game of the regular season. The Warhawks have not lost since, winning eight straight.
Washington-Liberty was dealing with a lot entering the Nov. 11 game that was not related to football. Many players and starters either missed the game with the flu or were suffering symptoms and were not 100 percent, according to head coach Josh Shapiro. Also, a former teammate of past seasons, Braylon Meade, and acurrent student at the school was killed a day earlier in a traffic accident.
“Mentally, we were not ready to play or take the field,” Shapiro said. “The flu hit us hard the last two weeks and we had no energy.”
Madison built a quick 21-0 lead and was ahead 42-0 at halftime.
“They scored to go up 7-0, then it just opened up from there,” Shapiro said.
Washington-Liberty quarterback Ryan Jones was 10 of 23 passing for 41 yards and Luke Harnishfeger was 4 of 6 for 16 yards. Jackson Nowinski had nine catches for 33 yards, Harnishfeger three for nine and Sean Guffey two for 14.
Elijah Hughes had 42 yards rushing in the loss, Guffey 36 and Jackson Broadwell 17.
On defense, Broadwell recovered a fumble, Hughes had two tackles for losses and Jose Morales made six tackles.
O’Connell trailed Carroll 8-6 at the end of the first quarter, was behind 21-6 at halftime and 42-6 after three periods in the Nov. 12 clash.
For the Knights on offense, sophomore quarterback Jonathan Nguyen completed 10 passes for 99 yards and threw a touchdown pass and he ran for 17 yards.
Aidan Munroe had five catches, Samson Ogunde had three, Aidan Joseph two and Colin Harris and Douglas O’Donnell one each. Zach Harrison ran for nine yards.
Leading the Knights defense in the playoff game were Kellen McConnell with six tackles, Nathan Harrison with five, Frank Johnson with four, Agunde made two tackles, and Munroe broke up a pass.