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By Brad Fauber - firstname.lastname@example.org
LEESBURG -- It wasn't the way Millbrook coach Reed Prosser and the rest of the Pioneers football team wanted to begin their 2011 season.
After four quarters of smash-mouth football, Millbrook (0-1) left the field at Tuscarora High School defeated 27-10 by the Huskies.
"I was proud of our kids, they played hard," Prosser said. "We didn't make that many mistakes in terms of turning the ball over -- we just needed to execute better."
Tuscarora (1-0) set the tone early, running the ball on 10 out of its first 13 snaps from scrimmage during the Huskies' first two series, using three different running backs in the process.
"Hopefully we wear them down a little bit," Tuscarora coach Michael Burnett said of his team's offensive game plan. "We run the ball a lot. We don't care who we put back there, we think we can run the football."
The Huskies used a successful fourth-down conversion to extend their second drive, which ended with a 34-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Chad Carerra to senior receiver Alden Carpenter to put the Huskies up 7-0 with 1:35 left in the first quarter.
Millbrook responded by tacking on a 27-yard field goal by senior Derek Davis, despite having a first-and-goal from the Huskies' 10-yard line.
Both teams took turns scoring on their next possessions, with Tuscarora adding a touchdown on a 1-yard sneak by Carerra and the Pioneers scoring on a 28-yard run by junior Justin Anderson with 1:09 left in the first half. Anderson led the Pioneers with 58 yards rushing on 10 carries and a touchdown.
Down 14-10 early in the fourth quarter, it looked as though Millbrook was going to finally gain the momentum that neither team could seem to grasp in the second half.
With the ball on the Millbrook 15, Tuscarora's Carerra fired a fourth-down pass that was intercepted by Pioneers senior Boomer Kaczmarzewski. Kaczmarzewski sprinted down the sideline, reaching the Tuscarora 45-yard line before coughing up the football and giving possession back over to the Huskies.
After a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Millbrook sideline placed the ball at the Millbrook 43, Tuscarora handed the ball to sophomore Warren Miles on three consecutive plays, the third a 6-yard run with 8 1/2 minutes left to play.
"The big momentum shift was the interception that turned into a fumble," Prosser said. "And then when they were able to drive it back down the field and score, they were up by two scores. So we're trying to score quickly and that's not necessarily our name of the game."
The Huskies added another score just two minutes later after a Millbrook punt ricocheted off of an offensive lineman and gave Tuscarora a first-and-goal from the Pioneers' 6-yard line. A failed two-point conversion led to the 27-10 final score.
"It's a big win for us," said Burnett of his Huskies program, which is barely a year old. "It's definitely the biggest win we've had as a school, I think. We've got to take it one game at a time, but it is certainly a big win for us."