An inexperienced Jefferson High team was no match for a talented Herndon squad last Friday night as the visiting team Hornets overwhelmed the Colonials, 61-6, in both teams’ football opener in Alexandria.
Herndon, which has question marks across its young offensive and defensive lines, is particularly strong personnel-wise at the skill positions this season. On Friday night, the team’s interior linemen, especially on the offensive side, got their feet wet and played extremely well. That helped open things up for quarterback Zack Ozycz and his backfield mates. The result was Herndon accumulating almost 400 yards of offense.
Ozycz, the team’s seasoned signal caller, completed an efficient 7-of-9 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score. Meanwhile, the Hornets’ running game was paced by Randell Anane, who rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Backfield mates Devon Thompson (80 yards rushing, 2 TDs) and Austin Moore (50, 1 TD) also had strong games.
“We have a lot of balance in our backfield,” said Herndon coach Joe Sheaffer. “All are capable and pretty good.”
One of Herndon’s best plays of the night came on the second half kickoff, which was returned for a touchdown by sophomore Josh Schow.
The game swung in Herndon’s favor right from the start. Jefferson turned the ball over on its first two possessions, and Herndon took advantage with a pair of early touchdowns to go ahead 14-0 three minutes into the contest.
“That really set the tone for the game and the kids were a lot more loose [thereafter],” said Sheaffer.
The coach said his team, while somewhat young across the lines, is somewhat experienced across the board. And a Jefferson team with several young players was simply no match for a Herndon team that is coming off a 2008 Northern Region Div. 6 playoff appearance.
“I think the biggest thing is that Jefferson is pretty young and that is a key,” said Sheaffer. “The kids they are counting on are young and they made a lot of mistakes early on and it snowballed. Our kids, they’ve been around and they have a lot more confidence.”
Sheaffer said he was conscious of not running up the score. But there were times when Herndon running backs were simply breaking into the open field. Sometimes a lopsided game cannot be helped.
“It was a little bit of a mismatch that just got out of hand [on the scoreboard],” said Sheaffer.
The coach was pleased with his team’s high level of play and intensity for the game.
“Our kids’ energy level was really good,” he said. “Our kids went into it and played hard.”
NEXT UP for Herndon is a Friday night home game against McLean. The Highlanders, under second year coach Jim Patrick, went 0-10 last year but were victorious in their season opener, 44-14, over visiting Washington-Lee last week.
Riley Beiro, McLean’s standout running back who missed the second half of last season with knee injury problems, experienced a career night as he rushed for 293 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries against the Generals. Beiro took advantage of a stronger, better offensive line in front of him that opened up large holes throughout the game.
McLean quarterback Will Hecht tossed a couple of touchdown passes, along with two interceptions, in the win over W-L. For the night, he completed seven of his 12 passes for 83 yards. Receiver John Fremermen caught touchdown passes from 34 and 25 yards.