In an early season matchup between two good high school football teams, the Langley High Saxons got the better of the interior play and defeated visiting Herndon, 10-7, last Friday night.
Langley improved to 2-1 with the win. The Saxons broke a 7-7 tie with just over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when sophomore kicker Farhan Khan, a first year football player, booted a 32-yard field goal. The three-pointer held up for Langley, which won for the second straight week following a week one loss at Chantilly.
"He made it easy," said Howerton, of Khan’s field goal that was true as gold.
Khan, a Langley High soccer player in the spring, expressed interest in coming out for football in early June. His strong leg impressed the Langley coaching staff and he became the team’s top kicker.
"He’s a new kid for us, a sophomore with a real strong leg," said Howerton. "He’s a soccer player who had never played football before. The kid doesn’t say a word and doesn’t seem to get nervous at all."
<b>PAVING THE WAY</b>to the win for Langley was its outstanding play across the offensive line. The Saxons won the battle of the trenches throughout the game and ultimately wore down the Hornets’ defense.
Langley senior running back David Helmer carried the ball 37 times for 180 yards, with a first quarter touchdown run from a yard out.
For the game, Langley ran 60 offensive plays and earned 19 first downs to Herndon’s seven. It was a game of outstanding ball control for the Saxons’ offense.
"Especially in the second half," said Howerton, of his team’s ability to keep the ball. "We had it the whole time and the [Herndon] kids were getting pretty tired. Our ability to handle them up front, especially at the end of the game, wore them down a little bit."
Of Helmer’s big rushing game, Howerton said, "The kid’s a tough kid. He’s a state championship wrestler. He’s not very fast, but he runs up in there, twists and turns and keeps his legs moving."
Howerton is determined to have his offense become more versatile than season’s past when the Saxons were looked upon as strictly a grinding, running team that rarely passed the ball. But the coach said he has a strong passing quarterback in senior Danny Pritchett and would like to throw the ball 20 times a game.
"This is the best quarterback we’ve had," said Howerton. "We can throw the ball and we have some receivers."
With its ground game in strong fashion against Herndon, however, Pritchett needed to throw the ball just 14 times, completing 10 of the passes for 84 yards and an interception.
<b>HOWERTON</b> was disappointed his team did not score more points against Herndon. He said his team moved the ball deep into Langley territory on a few occasions, only to be hurt by drive-stalling penalties. For the game, Langley was penalized 10 times.
"Penalties hurt us the most," said Howerton, who said his team will have to clean up its game this Friday night when the Saxons open up their Liberty District schedule at home against Marshall. "The 10 penalties were pretty costly. We had penalties inside the 20 a couple of times."
Herndon (2-1) came into the game with wins over Park View and South Lakes under its belt. But in the low scoring affair against Langley, the Hornets could score only one touchdown, that coming on a one yard scoring run by junior quarterback Zack Ozycz in the second quarter. Herndon will be looking to get back on the winning track this Friday night when it opens up its Concorde District schedule with a home game against Centreville.