2022.11.26 Football: VHSL Region 4C Championship, Kettle Run @ Loudoun County

Leesburg, VA (November 26, 2022) - Regional championships can often be lopsided affairs as they can pit two teams from different districts where the level of play can vary wildly. But this one looked to be different.

Hosting the regional championship game, and earning the top seed in the regional tournament, the Loudoun County Captains had churned through the Dulles District and their first two region games. The visiting Kettle Run Cougars made similar work of the Northwestern District, and had proven worthy of the second seed in the region by trouncing their first two opponents.

In other words, by record, the 2022 VHSL Region 4C title game could be a gem.

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

Loudoun County's first drive ended in a punt, and Kettle Run's first snap sailed over the head of Cougars quarterback Abram Chumley. And that was the last time either team looked less than stellar. After that first bad snap, the Cougars put together an efficient drive and took the lead on a pass to Jordan Tapscott

End of First Quarter: Kettle Run 7 - Loudoun County 0

Finishing a drive that started in the first quarter, the Captains answered with typical Loudoun County flair. Mixing a heavy dose of Jason Murray runs with key pass plays, quarterback Zach Hensch found Joey Fitzpatrick in the end zone to tie the score at 7-7.

Kettle Run's next drive stalled, and County took advantage with another well executed drive that ended with Hensch running it in. But with about four minutes remaining in the period, the Cougars put together a scoring drive that featured runs from Peyton Mehaffey, and Colton Quaker, ending with Chumley carrying it in for the tying touchdown.

Halftime: Kettle Run 14 - Loudoun County 14

By the end of the first half it was clear that a more competitive matchup there simply could not be. Both defenses had played extremely well, but the name of the game was offense and County's consistent execution had been matched by Kettle Run's mistake-free attack.

To open the second half, the Captains made it look easy with a three-minute drive that included the longest play of the day--a pass of more than fifty yards to Fitzpatrick--and ended with a scoring run by Murray. Now trailing 21-14, Kettle Run constructed an equally smart march into the end zone to tie the game once more on Chumley's quarterback keeper.

End of Third Quarter: Kettle Run 21 - Loudoun County 21

On their next possession, County was forced to punt, but after that the packed stands were treated to a brilliant final quarter from both teams. When the Cougars took over, they proceeded to execute a now trademark scoring drive with another Chumley run putting Kettle Run back in front, 28-21. 

The Captains' next drive included two huge plays from wide receiver Wes Celentano, first a run off of a reverse and next a long pass. Hensch ran the ball in to tie the score at 28-28, and with just 5:44 left in the game it seemed like there was hardly enough time for one touchdown, let alone two.

The Cougars took about half of the remaining time to score again. With the ball ten yards from the County end zone, Kettle Run head coach Charlie Porterfield called a trick play with a reverse to Tapscott who passed to Trey Western in the end zone for a 35-28 lead.

With three minutes remaining there was clearly enough time for the Captains to tie the game. And that came true with Fitzpatrick catching a touchdown pass from Hensch, making the score 35-34. With an extra point likely to send the game into overtime, it was decision time for County head coach Matt Reidenbaugh. He aggressively opted for the two-point conversion, showing confidence in his powerful attack, but the attempt failed leaving the Cougars with just over a minute to run out for the championship. A single point proved to be the difference between two excellent teams, and Kettle Run owned it.

And, yes, this regional championship was, in fact, a gem.

Final Score: Kettle Run 35 - Loudoun County 34

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