The Northside Vikings are in Purcellville off of Route 7 in Loudoun County for Saturday’s 2 p.m. kick against Loudoun Valley. It'll be a battle of two teams that have green and gold as their primary colors, and they share the Vikings nickname.
Coach Burt Torrence and his team are on a trajectory similar to 2009, when they won it all for the first time.
“There's similarities in the work ethic, similarities in the desire to win and the time put in and the focus and the dedication but as far as top to bottom talent level, this team is superior to the '09 team and they've meshed the way in which the '09 team did,” coach Burt Torrence said.
Wide receiver Ben Plunkett said: “We just want to keep the Northside tradition going. We want to be like our brothers. I played with some of those guys my sophomore year and they were sophomores when they won it and it's just cool to talk to them. I just want to be able to have that ring on my finger too.”
The Vikings have plenty of playmakers on offense, but it's the defense that has gotten the job done lately. Northside is allowing just 16 points a game in the playoffs, and has only allowed 21 or more points twice all season.
"Northside's always been known for defense, even when they weren't as strong, they were always good defensively,” Northside linebacker Ezra Waddey said. “We love to hit, just to come out there and just to play smash-mouth football on the defensive side. I've been playing linebacker here for about three years now and that's what we strive on."
Northside's lone loss came at Lord Botetourt late in the season. But despite the setback, the message never changed, and the Vikes are now two wins away from another title.
“Don't be satisfied with your position here in August on our team,” Torrence said. “That position could change readily in a moment's time. Play every play like it's your last because it could be your last. It's not luck when preparation meets opportunity, and that's what they did. They prepared.”
Loudoun Valley is coached by a face familiar to Hokie fans, former Tech offensive lineman Danny McGrath.
McGrath started at center for Coach Frank Beamer, most of his last two seasons in Blacksburg. He capped his career by playing in the Sugar Bowl following the 2005 season and the Gator Bowl in 2006. McGrath is in his sixth season as head coach at Loudoun Valley.