South County claims Virginia Patriot District title with win over Lake Braddock

Chad Ricardo

South County defeated Lake Braddock Friday night claiming the Virginia Patriot District championship. The final was 40-29, but the game was not as close as the score may indicate.

Using pace and physicality the Stallions imposed their will upon the Bruins early. SoCo drove the ball the distance of the field on their first possession, taking a 7-0 lead on a Zion Dayne two-yard touchdown run. After stopping the Bruins deep in their own territory, the Stallions blocked Braddock's punt, setting up a short field and another Dayne TD plunge.

The Yale commit set the tone on both sides of the ball. He would finish the day with three touchdowns and three sacks.

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"It's all thanks to my teammates, my blocking was amazing," Dayne said. "Everybody played amazing, it's not just me, it's my whole team".

SoCo went up 21-0 went quarterback Matt Dzierski found Brock Spalding for their first of two touchdown connections. The Stallions opened their playbook late in the second quarter and Keshawn Toran ran a fake punt 55 yards to the end zone, making it 28-0 at the half.

"We knew they could create mismatches, so the more we could jump on them early, the less chance they'd have to reel it back," said South County head coach Gerry Pannoni.

Historically known for their offense, it was South County's defense that ignited the fast start. Dayne and defensive end Horace Kahn hurried and hit Braddock's quarterback Billy Edwards relentlessly, rarely giving him time to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. SoCo's front seven was also able to smother Bruin's running back Joe Murray, who entered the game as one of the leading rushers in the district.

"Everybody on the defense played lights out. We put seven in the box and hammered him all night," said Dayne.

Lake Braddock's offense woke up in the second half as Billy Edwards threw four touchdown passes, but each time the Bruins came close to making it a game, SoCo would come up with another big play, many from the arm of Dzierski.

The Stallions are clicking on all cylinders with the playoffs around the corner.

"It didn't start tonight, it started in the offseason. We've been putting in work to make sure we're on the same page," Dzierski said. "Our ultimate goal is to win a state championship".

South County hosts Falls Church (6-4) next week in the final game of the regular season

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South County claims Virginia Patriot District title with win over Lake Braddock originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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