The Patriots finished the regular season undefeated (10-0) for the first time and reached the championship thanks to a pair of dominating playoff wins over McLean (20-16) and Lee (50-15), but they had no answer for the physical Stallion defense, led by Virginia Tech recruit Devin Vandyke, who had three sacks and a fumble recovery.
Vandyke and Oren Burks collapsed the pocket on what seemed like every play, coming hard up the middle and off the edge, and South County’s defense pressured Yorktown quarterback Smith into two interceptions and a fumble.
The Stallions came into the game with nine consecutive wins, including last week’s playoff victory over perennial region power Stone Bridge.
“Play by play, they outplayed us,” said Yorktown senior quarterback Jordan Smith, who scrambled for just 6 yards on 16 carries due to the pressure from South County. “It wasn’t that we weren’t ready. We just didn’t come to play. I don’t know…”
Smith threw one touchdown pass, but completed just 8-of-20 for 107 yards. The Patriots hadn’t scored fewer than 20 points all season and had scored 40 or more eight times. On Friday, they managed just one offensive touchdown, on a 17-yard pass from Smith to sophomore running back M.J. Stewart that cut the deficit to 37-13 in the fourth quarter.
“We just hadn’t seen any athletes like [Vandyke and Burks] all season,” said Yorktown coach Bruce Hanson, who won his 200th career game earlier this year. “They had a great scheme and we didn’t have any kind of field position.”
Vandyke’s fumble recovery led to South County’s first touchdown — which came on a two-yard run from quarterback Shane Foley with three minutes left in the second quarter – and made it 10-0.
The Stallions’ defense has been their hallmark all season, and Friday was no different. Timmy Hunt returned a Smith pass early in the fourth quarter 65 yards to make it 31-7, and the Patriots gave up a blocked punt that was recovered by South County in the end zone with 9:32 to play that made it 37-7.
“Our quarterback just wasn’t used to that type of pressure,” Hanson said.
South County limited Yorktown to just 195 yards of total offense, about half of what the Patriots had generated in each prior game.
“We treated these guys like the best athletes in the region, which they are,” said Vandyke. “We had a really good scout team this week, and we knew what they were going to do.”