Sterling, Va. — For the Loudoun County High School football team, a dream season just keeps getting better. After their 33-8 win over the Dominion Titans, the Raiders’ record improved to 7-0 – the only undefeated team in the Dulles District.

The game was never in doubt as the Raiders struck in the first quarter. They trapped Dominion senior running back Darian Greenhow in the end zone for a safety. On the ensuing Dominion kickoff, junior athlete Joseph Groves went untouched en route to a 72-yard touchdown to make the score 9-0 after the extra point.

Groves and freshman wideout Jimmy Kibble were key parts of the Raider passing game – one that made senior quarterback Nick Barts the 2017 Dulles District Offensive Player of the Year.

After being hit hard on a few screen passes, Groves was able to break free for deeper passes in the later stages of the game, gashing a Dominion secondary that was without both starting corners.

“They were putting a safety over me the whole game; they had a corner pressing me. We adjusted it so I was getting more of the digs and the posts. The digs were pretty successful,” Groves said.“It was late in the game before I started getting the passes, realizing I was getting open. The screens, we tried them in the beginning as well as we thought it would, just testing things, trial-and-error.”

Barts was effective throughout the game, finding numerous receivers for big gains across the middle and down the sideline.

“He’s got a strong arm and he’s got some good people around him,” Loudoun County head coach Tony Rayburn said. “Our receivers and our offensive line and our running backs, they all work together.”

Barts’ offense was balanced by sophomore running back Tariq Sims, who powered in for two touchdowns to put the game out of reach as Dominion’s offense sputtered.

The Loudoun County defense dominated throughout the night, sacking Dominion junior quarterback A.J. Darr multiple times. Darr – who entered the game with an injury to his left shoulder – was forced to exit in the second half with a right ankle injury and did not return.

“Our defense has played well most of the year. We’re pretty quick on defense. We’ve played well,” Rayburn said.

The Dominion offense was unable to generate offense throughout the night, stifled by the pass rush and run defense of the Raiders.

The Titans (3-5, 1-3) will finish off their season at Loudoun Valley (7-0, 3-0) on October 26, with their playoff chances all but extinguished.

However, for Loudoun County (7-0, 3-0), the games only get more important from here, as they currently stand at the top of the Dulles District and the VHSL 4A Region C standings. On October 26, they’ll face the Woodgrove Wolverines (5-2, 3-0) in a match up likely to determine the district champion.

“We can’t lose focus at all. We have a huge target on our backs. Every day is just a grind; practice is going to be hard,” Groves said. “Being undefeated is important, [but]we can’t stop here. We have to keep pushing as a team and see what the future holds.”


1Q 8:04 LC Safety
1Q 7:52 LC Joseph Groves 72-yard kickoff return TD (Carson PAT)
2Q 10:08 LC Tariq Sims 12-yard TD run (Carson PAT)
2Q 8:03 LC Tariq Sims 4-yard TD run (Carson PAT)
2Q 0:31 LC Cam Carson 36-yard field goal
3Q 4:37 LC Josh Pettiford 2-yard TD run (Carson PAT)
4Q 0:00 D Tony Lampe to John Hayes 44-yard TD pass (2pt good)