Purcellville, Va. — For more than 60 years, Loudoun Valley and Loudoun County High Schools have been developing Loudoun County’s oldest rivalry. While the teams were relatively evenly matched for most of the 2000s, the Captains have held the definitive advantage since 2017, winning the last six matchups between the two teams.
“We haven’t backed away from the fact that we haven’t beaten them in seven years. It’s not really much of a rivalry when you don’t win any of the games,” Loudoun Valley head coach David Bishop said. “We have so much respect for their coach and their coaching staff; they’re a great program and a great football team.”
In an effort to start a new streak, the Vikings hosted the Captains in their 2023 home opener. Despite five lead changes, Loudoun Valley leaned on the senior leadership of its quarterback and receivers and the youthful energy of its running back tandem to hold off Loudoun County, 27-20, on September 22 in Purcellville, earning the first win over its rival since 2016.
“It’s unbelievable. We haven’t beaten this team since 2016,” Loudoun Valley senior receiver Cole Kielhorn said. “Coming into the season, I knew I wanted to win this game and our game against Woodgrove, so to check this one off the list is huge. I’m so excited.”[adrotate banner=”46″]
Loudoun Valley freshman running back Ethan Lafollette got the Vikings on the board early in the second quarter when he scampered in from 7 yards out.
However, the Captains had an answer on their next series as senior quarterback Aiden Ballve connected with sophomore tight end Jeremiah Davis on a 5-yard touchdown pass to even the score at 7-7.
Knowing the Captains would receive the kickoff to start the second half, the Vikings rallied late to get into field goal range in the waning seconds of the second quarter, where they lined up to attempt a 20-yard field goal.
Before they got a chance to attempt the field goal, the Captains were called offsides, giving the Vikings the ball inside the 2 yard line. Rather than settle for a field goal, Loudoun Valley once again handed the ball off to Lafollette who found the opening and scored to put the Vikings up 13-7, following a blocked PAT attempt.
“We tell them if they’re on the field we expect them to play, it doesn’t matter if they’re a freshman or a sophomore,” Bishop said. “[Lafollette and sophomore Mack Gaffney] are great athletes, great ballplayers, and they’ve been giving us that extra edge from an offensive standpoint.”
Trailing by six, the Captains knew they’d need to steal the momentum coming out of the half and did just that when sophomore running back Montez Dyson scored on a 10-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, marking the Captains’ first lead of the night.
While it took nearly the rest of the third quarter, the Vikings found their answer when on a 2nd-and-23 senior quarterback Alex Johnson hit Kielhorn with a 44-yard touchdown pass as Loudoun Valley retook the lead, 19-14.
Then, early in the fourth quarter, Ballve threw a strike to senior receiver Tanner Vogel, setting up an eventual 8-yard touchdown run by the quarterback as the lead changed again, this time in favor of the Captains, 20-19.
Every team has to look out for us because we’re coming strong and we’re coming ready.
But the senior leadership of Johnson and Kielhorn shined when it mattered most as the duo connected for a 17-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter to give the Vikings the lead for the fourth and final time, 27-20.
With one final chance left late in the fourth quarter, Ballve tried to go deep, but Kielhorn read the pass the whole way, intercepting the Captains to put the game on ice.
“I was in a rover, just looking over the entire field,” Kielhorn said. “I saw him throw it up, and I knew I was in the perfect spot to go get it.”
After dropping its first two games of the season—and the last six contests against the Captains—Loudoun Valley will look to ride the high of their win into their September 29 game at district foe Rock Ridge. Loudoun County will look to regroup when they host Riverside on the same night in Leesburg.
“It’s a family thing. We all have great trust in each other,” Kielhorn said. “Every team has to look out for us because we’re coming strong and we’re coming ready.”
|2Q||8:29||Loudoun Valley||Ethan Lafollette 7-yard TD run (Kaden Bui PAT)||7-0|
|2Q||4:11||Loudoun County||Aiden Ballve to Jeremiah Davis 5-yard TD pass (Luke Morrison PAT)||7-7|
|2Q||0:14||Loudoun Valley||Ethan Lafollette 2-yard TD run (PAT blocked)||13-7|
|3Q||7:58||Loudoun County||Montez Dyson 10-yard TD run (Teddy Edmonds PAT)||13-14|
|3Q||0:32||Loudoun Valley||Alex Johnson to Cole Kielhorn 44-yard TD pass (2pt failed)||19-14|
|4Q||11:11||Loudoun County||Aiden Ballve 8-yard TD run (2pt failed)||19-20|
|4Q||5:20||Loudoun Valley||Alex Johnson to Cole Kielhorn 17-yard TD pass (Johnson to Hodges 2pt pass)||27-20|