McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

Highlanders fall 54-27 but refuse to quit following rough first half

Senior+quarterback+Omar+Varela+escapes+pressure+against+the+Patriots.+Varela+was+solid+off+the+bench+after+replaced+the+injured+starter+Rishi+Singh.+
Senior quarterback Omar Varela escapes pressure against the Patriots. Varela was solid off the bench after replaced the injured starter Rishi Singh.

Senior quarterback Omar Varela escapes pressure against the Patriots. Varela was solid off the bench after replaced the injured starter Rishi Singh.

Imani McCormick

Imani McCormick

Senior quarterback Omar Varela escapes pressure against the Patriots. Varela was solid off the bench after replaced the injured starter Rishi Singh.

Jackson Payne, Managing editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Most teams would give up on themselves after a 40-0 halftime deficit against a strong conference opponent.

The McLean Highlanders, however, are not like most teams.

McLean kicked off conference play in the season’s second half on Oct. 6 at home against the Yorktown Patriots, a strong playoff favorite with a 4-1 record heading into the game. The Patriots routed McLean 35-0 last season and edged out a close 21-20 victory two years ago since rejoining the Liberty District in 2015. The Highlanders, since losing 35-14 to Marshall on Sept. 1, fell to Edison (19-7), Stuart (48-20), and West Springfield (49-14) in their next three match-ups. Junior return specialist Luka Karony became a human highlight reel during those three weeks, however, as he had three straight games with a kick return touchdown to go along with a receiving touchdown and two interceptions on defense.

Following the loss to Edison, first year head coach John Scholla made a change at the quarterback position, swapping senior Omar Varela for sophomore Rishi Singh. Singh was serviceable against Stuart but struggled mightily against West Springfield last week. Against Yorktown, Singh had yet to attempt a pass before leaving the game with an injury following a sack in the first quarter, bringing Varela back under center for McLean.

By the time Singh was knocked out of the game, Yorktown had already put up 20 points, which they would double by the end of the half for a commanding 40-0 lead. Senior Patriot receiver Davis Patterson caught three touchdowns and ran for a fourth, and district player of the year candidate Tanner Wall added a touchdown catch of his own after throwing a touchdown to Patterson on a trick play in the first quarter.

The Highlanders began the second half with a long, productive offensive drive that ended with a five yard touchdown run by senior running back and The Highlander design editor Bryan Chung, who came into the game in the first quarter to replace an injured George Stimson. Before the end of the third quarter, junior linebacker Mateus O’Bryan recovered a Yorktown fumble and then caught an eight yard touchdown reception from Varela to make the score 40-14.

Yorktown scored twice in the fourth quarter to retake a 40 point lead at 54-14, but the Highlanders still had no intentions of giving up. Karony scored on a well-designed 41 yard hook-and-ladder play and then caught a 16 yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game, a play that Varela was able to keep alive with his legs to escape pressure before finding Karony open near the end zone.

Junior Luka Karony celebrates as he scores against Yorktown. Karony’s six total touchdowns this season lead the Highlanders.

Despite the 54-27 loss, McLean’s inspiring offensive performance in the second half, where they scored the most points in a game since their 28-20 victory over Fairfax last year, is definitely something to be excited about.

“Unfortunately, the narrative for much of this season has been our inability to play four full quarters of football, and it’s a shame that in week six we’re still having these problems,” Scholla said. “However, our guys showed so much heart, determination and resolve in the second half and ultimately I’m very proud of them. They played like men, and even though we still have to go home with the loss I’m very proud of the way they responded at halftime and decided they were going to keep playing instead of packing it in.”

Coming in off the bench, Varela played his finest game of the season at quarterback, completing 15 of 27 passes with 210 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Varela also found success with his legs, leading the team with 38 rushing yards on nine carries and often saving broken plays by running out of trouble. Chung added 31 yards on 11 carries and senior fullback Adam Taylor picked up a key first down on a five yard carry, his only rushing attempt of the night. Top receiver Carter Govan, who had been sidelined since the Marshall game with a collarbone injury, was dominant in his return, catching seven passes for a career-high 112 yards. Karony caught three passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns, and O’Bryan added 15 yards on two catches with a touchdown. Junior Logan Johnson had two receptions for 20 yards and Taylor caught a pass for four yards.

McLean heads to Herndon next week for a Saturday homecoming matinee at 1:00, and Scholla hopes that the Highlanders can ride the momentum from their strong finish to their first victory against the Hornets.

“[Herndon] is a rebuilding program as well, so we definitely have an opportunity there next week, and I’m interested to see who is willing to ride this momentum out this week at practice especially with an extra day to prepare,” Scholla said. “Once we figure out how to play four full quarters all together, not only are we going to be a much better team, but we’re going to be a dangerous team.”

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

    Opinions

    US Soccer should embrace the European youth academy system

  • McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

    Sports

    Can McLean football have a late season turn around?

  • McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

    Sports

    Heartbreak for U.S. Soccer fans in McLean Community

  • McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

    Sports

    JV field hockey finishes season

  • McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

    Sports

    Starting off the school year on the right foot

  • McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

    Sports

    Varsity boys golf players compete at regionals

  • McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

    News

    Hockey team paints rock in memory of Zachary Heuple

  • Sports

    McLean/Marshall varsity football recap

  • McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

    Sports

    Girls Soccer Crashes out of Conference Playoffs

  • McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap

    Sports

    The rise of the Big Baller Brand

McLean/Yorktown varsity football recap