2022.10.21 Football: Independence @ Loudoun County

Leesburg, VA (October 21, 2022) - A week ago there were two undefeated teams among LCPS high school football teams, the Independence Tigers and the Loudoun County Captains. The Captains rolled on with a win over Lightridge, but the Tigers fell to a stunning second half comeback from Briar Woods. 

Now the two teams meet at Loudoun County in a game that doesn't matter much in the standings--since they're not in the same district--yet matters a lot in terms of prestige and pride. The Captains will strive to remain unbeaten--a rare accomplishment indeed--and the Tigers will endeavor to build back their momentum as the regular season nears its climax.

Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.

The Tigers scored first on a 25-yard pass to Julien Randolph, who leaped high to snag a lofted ball in the left corner of the end zone at 5:19 of the first quarter. Neither team would score again in the quarter, which ended with Independence leading, 7-0.

County's first drive of the second period stalled inside the red zone, and the Captains turned the ball over on downs. But they intercepted a Tiger pass on the next play, and had the ball back on the Independence 30-yard line. Zach Hensch fired a pass to Joey Fitzpatrick who caught it at the 5-yard line and then muscled his way into the zone to tie the score, 7-7 with 10:06 left in the half. 

Independence started their next drive on their own 40-yard line, and it took them all of three minutes to score again. Clayton Ash ran the ball in for the score, but the drive was aided by two critical Loudoun County penalties.

Trailing 14-7, the Captains' Aaron DiLorenzo fielded a short kickoff, and made a nice run extended by a heady play when he rolled off a would-be tackler and got an additional ten yards. A long pass to Nathan Eeshwar set Hensch up for a short run into the end zone, and the first half ended, 14-14.

County started the second half with a solid drive that ended in a turnover on a blocked field goal attempt. Independence was not able to take advantage of their next possession, and County's Evan Stanley broke through the line to block the ensuing punt. Two plays later, the Captains scored again to make it 21-14.

Again Independence was unable to move the ball. When the Captains took over Hensch quickly launched a long pass to Fitzpatrick, who was downed at the 6-yard line. In the end zone again, Hensch made it 27-14, but the extra point was blocked.

The kickoff was mishandled by the Tigers, and the Captains recovered with a chance to run out the clock. With 1:25 remaining in the game, Hensch launched a fourth down pass into the end zone, but it was intercepted by Justin Jordan, who returned it to the 40-yard line. Amazingly, there was still hope on the Tigers' sideline.

And that hope was rewarded when they scored on the next play to cut the County lead to 27-21 with 1:07 remaining. Still trailing, Independence executed a perfect onside kick and recovered the ball at midfield. The Tigers moved the ball into the red zone, but with no timeouts remaining they could not run the ball, and had to throw for the end zone. The first three attempts failed, and the fourth one was picked off by DeLorenzo to seal the Loudoun County victory. 

Final Score: Loudoun County 27 - Independence 21

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