By Joe Skinner
LoCoSports Social Media Editor
South Riding (October 24, 2015) — Homecoming weekend is a time of reunion with old friends, pep-rallies, kings, queens and big homecoming game attendance. All of that and more was showcased on October 23 in South Riding when the Rock Ridge High School Phoenix (2-7) traveled to take on the Freedom High School Eagles (3-5) in a VHSL 4A West clash. Fueled by a strong running game and a late rally, the Eagles prevailed by a score of 28-21.
The entire game was a back and forth affair, with each team matching each other’s scoring drives. The passing game was virtually non-existent, as interceptions and turnovers kept the ball on the ground for the majority of the game.
“We have improved a lot, and if you’re not really into all of the little things of football and nuances, you might not really notice,” Freedom head coach Sean Curry said. “The guys have all bought in [to the program]and working hard and are incredibly selfless.”
The hometown Eagles struck first in the opening twelve minutes, as junior running back Brett Dineen punched in his first of four touchdowns with 1:29 left in the quarter. The Phoenix then responded with six points of their own when senior wide receiver Kory Bazile scored from two yards out on a sweep to knot up the game, 7-7.
“Tonight was all about the seniors with their first homecoming win at Freedom, and it was an important win for the guys,” Curry said.
Dineen and Bazile both traded touchdowns again in the second quarter, which kept the game tied as both teams headed to the locker room, tied 14-14. Long drive after long drive, the Eagles and Phoenix kept on trading touchdowns and neither could break through.
— LoCoSports (@LoCoSports) October 24, 2015
Both teams came onto the field in the second half looking for an edge in the offensive game, and the Phoenix scored the only points of the third quarter as junior running back Eric Vivian hustled to the end zone with just over a minute left to put the Phoenix in A1 position headed to the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter turned into “The Brett Dineen Show” early, as he scored a 2-yard touchdown at the 9:42 mark in the fourth quarter — his third score of the game.
“[Dineen] is an explosive part of the offense when you run him behind seniors on the offensive line,” Curry said. “Dineen is a heck of a player, he’s tough, he’s quick.”
After a fumble gave the ball back to the Eagles with a short field in front of them, Dineen then put on the finishing touches on a career night with his fourth touchdown with 1:18 left in the game.
The Phoenix had one more shot at the comeback, until the Eagles defense forced an interception with under 45 seconds to go and sealed the homecoming night win.
On October 30, the Eagles travel to take on the first-year Riverside High School Rams (0-9) in an attempt for their first back-to-back wins this season. On the other side, the Phoenix travel to Purcellville to take on a Woodgrove High School Wolverines (7-1) team which has won seven straight games since its Week 1 overtime loss.
1Q 1:29 F Brett Dineen 3-yard TD run (Pearson PAT)
2Q 9:23 RR Kory Bazile 2-yard TD run (Wright PAT)
2Q 5:07 F Brett Dineen 5-yard TD run (Pearson PAT)
2Q 0:10 RR Kory Bazile 4-yard TD run (Wright PAT)
3Q 1:10 RR Eric Vivian 4-yard TD run (Wright PAT)
4Q 9:42 F Brett Dineen 2-yard TD run (Pearson PAT)
4Q 1:18 F Brett Dineen 3-yard TD run (Pearson PAT)