Leesburg, Va. — On a night when Loudoun County High School dedicated its football stadium to longtime LCPS coach and athletic director Frank “Sonny” Pearson – who passed away in March 2019 – the Raiders’ defense stifled Loudoun Valley High School on September 20 in Leesburg. In the county’s oldest rivalry, the Vikings scored late to break up the shutout, but the Raiders held on to win, 17-7.
“That’s a really good football team. I’m really proud of our kids, because we played a complete game,” Loudoun County head coach Tony Rayburn said. “Offensively, we were a lot more conservative; we knew we have a good defense and good special teams. We wanted to take advantage of those, and it paid dividends. It was just a great football game. I’m really proud of our kids.”
Leading 3-0 late in the second quarter, the Raiders expanded their lead when Loudoun County junior defensive lineman Robert DeBoard forced a fumble, scooped it up, and returned it 63 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
“I never ran that fast in my life. I’ll tell you that for sure,” DeBoard said. “Everyone was flying around on defense making sure we were getting there. If I wasn’t there, it would have been someone else. I believe that 100%. I got lucky enough to be in there to make the play.”
I never ran that fast in my life. I’ll tell you that for sure.
The Loudoun County defense impressed throughout the night, holding Loudoun Valley to just 69 yards of total offense through the first 45 minutes.
“We stepped it up a lot this week, keeping our calm, making sure everyone was helping each other out,” DeBoard said. “We talked about working together more, being more of a team, and that helped a lot.”
Loudoun County sophomore playmaker Jimmy Kibble got the scoring started midway through the second quarter when he hit a 37-yard field goal to put the Raiders up, 3-0.
“We’re fortunate to have Jimmy not only kicking off and punting, but also kicking field goals,” Rayburn said. “He’s a weapon, so we were able to take advantage of that.”
With three minutes to play in the game, Kibble put the game on ice, hauling in a 25-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jake Wilson. Kibble then hit the extra point to put the Raiders up, 17-0.
On Loudoun Valley’s ensuing possession, the Vikings entered senior backup quarterback Trevor McClelland. On his first and only play from scrimmage, McClelland connected with senior receiver Stephen Kallivokas on an 87-yard touchdown pass.
We really hung together this week. We progressed in the team concept this week, and our kids just stepped up and made plays.
–Coach Tony Rayburn
The Vikings then seemingly recovered an onside kick but drew a penalty for illegal touching as the kickoff had not gone the requisite 10 yards.
It was a big bounce back for the Raiders, who fell to Riverside on September 13, and Loudoun County (3-1) hopes to keep that momentum going as they host Warren County on September 27.
“A good team gets better each week. We made a big step from last week in a lot of ways. And it’s not just the Xs and Os and fundamentals; it was how we carried ourselves,” Rayburn said. “We really hung together this week. We progressed in the team concept this week, and our kids just stepped up and made plays.”