McLean football defeats rival Langley in Saxon Country

The Highlanders roll on to 3-0 record following triumph over Langley


Katie Romhilt

FLYING HIGH- The Highlanders celebrate their 16-7 win over the Saxons. This was McLean’s first win at Langley since 1996.

Kyle Hawley and Katie Romhilt

In a typical year, the McLean vs Langley football game would have attracted hundreds of endearing fans to show support for their home team. They would have tirelessly stood in the cold cheering for hours until the end of the game. This was not the case this year. Perhaps one of the most anticipated events of the year fell victim to COVID-19. 

Not only did COVID-19 regulations affect the turnout for the game, but it hurt the McLean roster as well. 

McLean was at a severe disadvantage after all of the team’s starting receivers were out of the playing due to a single COVID-19 positive case in their practice pod. Four players were ruled out for two weeks and were unable to compete in the annual rivalry game. 

“I’ve been looking forward to this game for the past four years and it was really unfortunate I was not allowed to play in it,” said senior Billy Ludwick, the first string receiver. “I watched the last rivalry game from my bedroom on a phone screen.” 

Ludwick had tested negative for the coronavirus a week before the game. However, due to FCPS policy, he still wasn’t allowed to participate until 10 days passed with no symptoms. 

Just like Ludwick, fans were not allowed to attend the game either. 

Despite the absence of fans and being short-handed on offense, the Highlanders fought for a low-scoring win this past Friday. Players didn’t let the empty stadium take away from the significance of the rivalry. 

“We went in knowing hundreds of fans were watching from home,” senior defensive lineman Anton Lingeman said. “Although it wasn’t the same, we just had to remind ourselves that we are still playing for an audience.”

McLean took the lead in the first quarter after a touchdown catch by senior Bryce Molnar. While the Highlander offense came out firing, the game slowed down quickly after the first score. 

After a botched field goal attempt, Langley eventually tied up the game in the second quarter with what ended up being the final touchdown of the game. It would also turnout to be the only Langley score of the game. Before the end of the first half, McLean restored a one-score lead after a successful field goal.. 

McLean Kicker Ivan Maric added two field goals to the board in the second half. A strong Highlander defense forced the Langley offense to spend most of the second half in their own territory. McLean ultimately closed out the low-scoring affair 16-7.

“It was a game we had to make a few adjustments for but in the end, we were the better team,” Lingeman said. “Obviously the ‘Ders would come out on top.”