A remarkable turnaround football season ended for the McLean Highlanders last weekend when they lost to Lee, 42-18, in a Div. 5 Northern Region quarterfinals playoff game.
McLean, with the loss, finished the season 6-5, a vast improvement from last year’s winless season.
The Highlanders, under second year head coach Jim Patrick, took a 9-0 first quarter lead against Lee, thanks to a two-point safety and a Riley Beiro scoring run from six yards out. Lee came to life in the second quarter with a couple of touchdowns but McLean’s Beiro scored on a three-yard run and the Highlanders led 16-14 at halftime. The Lancers, however, dominated second half play with four touchdowns to advance to this Friday night’s region semifinals game against Hayfield. Lee, a member of the Patriot District, is 8-3.
It has been a remarkable season for McLean, which opened the season with a convincing 44-14 road win at Washington-Lee and never fell under .500 thereafter. Perhaps the team’s biggest win of the season came on Sept. 25 over Liberty District opponent Madison, 24-21, improving the Highlanders’ record to 3-1. Madison, later during the season, went on to defeat region powerhouse Stone Bridge. This past weekend, Madison defeated Edison in another Div. 5 quarterfinals game. This Friday night, the Warhawks will travel to Ashburn to take on the Bulldogs in a Div. 5 semifinal.
McLean’s toughest stretch of the season came in back to back losses to Fairfax, 55-17, and Stone Bridge, 38-21. But a week later after the loss to the Bulldogs, McLean completed the regular season with a dramatic 35-34 district overtime home win over cross-town opponent Langley to clinch a winning record.
The loss to the Lancers last week hardly diminishes the memorable, victorious fall of 2009 experienced by the Highlanders and their fans.