The Lake Braddock Bruins trounced the Annandale Atoms in a shutout victory at Annandale High School September 24, making the Bruins 3-1 this season and the Atoms 1-4. The final score was 56-0. 

Lake Braddock kicked off the ball at 7 p.m. sharp, setting up the Atoms with the first possession. A disappointing drive that failed to move the chains caused Annandale to quickly punt the ball away, allowing Lake Braddock to swiftly take control. On Lake Braddock’s second play of the game, Bruins wide receiver Dillon Corey carried a screen pass for a 56-yard touchdown, taking off down the sidelines and dusting the Atoms defense to reach the end zone after only a few minutes in the first quarter had elapsed.  

The remainder of the first quarter was brutal for the Atoms, setting the tone for the rest of the game. After Annandale regained the ball, a Bruins blitz sacked Atoms quarterback Piero Vernazza-Cortez and forced a fumble, giving Lake Braddock the ball near the 10-yard line. On their next play, the Bruins easily ran the ball for a touchdown, making the score 14-0 with just under nine minutes remaining. The Bruins then shut down the Atoms offense once again and scored another touchdown on the first play of their subsequent drive for a score of 21-0. Before the end of the quarter, Lake Braddock would score yet another touchdown for a score of 28-0. 

A fired-up section of Lake Braddock students clad in camouflage colors issued taunts to their Hawaiian-themed opponents in the Annandale stands as the game progressed, loudly repeating chants of “We can’t hear you,” and even barking. Despite the dismal score, Annandale students had some occasions of their own to celebrate. Shortly before the end of the first half, one Annandale student at the front of the student section asked another to homecoming; after the student said yes, the stands erupted in a triumphant cheer, prompting perplexed looks from the Atoms on the field. 

The second quarter was almost as bruising for the Atoms as the first, with Lake Braddock scoring two more touchdowns for a score of 42-0 at halftime. After a tough first half, Annandale Student Activities Director John Ellenberger said that it was important for the Atoms to keep fighting even if victory was likely foreclosed. “Lake Braddock is one of the best teams in our region,” Ellenberger said. “In a game like this, you just want to see them compete.” 

Annandale Principal Shawn DeRose similarly remarked that the game’s importance extends beyond the final score. “Friday nights are about community,” DeRose said, adding that football games are a unique experience defined by “coming out and supporting your neighborhood school” to bring people together. “There’s nothing better on a Friday night than this,” Ellenberger said. 

Following a blowout in the first half, the action slowed in the second for the Bruins. The third quarter was scoreless up until its last second when Lake Braddock scored a touchdown. At the top of the fourth with the score of 49-0, disheartened Annandale students slowly began to trickle out, though a faithful contingent saw the end of the game through. 

Meanwhile, Lake Braddock students like James Luetkenhaus and Phoebe Nichols were reveling in their team’s victory that was all but assured. “Everyone’s really putting in a lot of work,” Leutkenhaus said, emphasizing that “this kind of game is what we live for.” Nichols added that being able to watch her classmates perform strengthens the bond between students, one of many things she was looking forward to her senior year. “My friends last year didn’t get to have a fun senior year,” Nichols said, “so I’m happy I’m going to be able to get that experience.”

After a few strong defensive plays by Annandale, including a sack with just over 4 minutes remaining, the Bruins made a final successful drive to the end zone with a touchdown by senior Eric Villanueva-Leiva. Determined to finish fighting with the score at 56-0, the Atoms decided they had nothing to lose with a final risky play. On fourth down with just over a minute remaining, the Atoms decided to go for it with a pass from Vernazza-Cortez, which was dropped. Lake Braddock then let the clock wind down to zero, after which both teams shook hands and left. 

Here’s the roundup of the other games from week five. 

Marshall at Chantilly 

The Chantilly Chargers recovered from last week’s loss to Robinson for a comfortable victory over the Marshall Statesmen. The final score was 35-6. Chantilly is 3-1 and Marshall is 3-2. 

West Springfield at Hayfield

The West Springfield Spartans narrowly beat the Hayfield Hawks. The final score was 31-28 after a field goal for the Spartans clinched the game. The Spartans are 4-0 and the Hawks are 1-4. 

Edison at Robinson 

The Robinson Rams dispatched the Edison Eagles for a score of 49-7 to continue their undefeated streak this season. The Rams are 5-0 and the Eagles are 1-4.

South Lakes at Herndon (9/21)

After a COVID outbreak among the Hornets forced this game to be postponed, it was rescheduled and played at Herndon High School September 21, where the Seahawks defeated the Hornets 49-34. South Lakes is 2-2 and Herndon is 0-4.

Herndon at Alexandria City (9/25)

For their second game this week, the Hornets traveled to Alexandria, where they were bested by the Titans 41-7. Alexandria City is 4-0. 

McLean at South Lakes (9/25)

The Seahawks won their second game of the week as well against the McLean Highlanders. The final score was 39-14. The Highlanders are 1-4. 

Madison at Langley 

The Madison Warhawks shut out the Langley Saxons 48-0. It was an impressive performance for Madison quarterback Connor Barry, who even had his own 33-yard touchdown run. Madison is 3-1 and Langley is 0-5. 

Justice at South County

The Justice Wolves were pummeled by the South County Stallions, who steamrolled the Wolves 62-0. The Stallions are 3-0 and the Wolves are 1-4. 

TEACH at Jefferson 

The Tidewater Educators Association for Christian Homeschooling of Virginia Beach traveled to Thomas Jefferson High School, where the Colonials won 28-14. Jefferson is 4-0 and TEACH is 2-2. 

Woodson at Lewis

The Woodson Cavaliers defeated the Lewis Lancers 35-2. Woodson is 2-2 and Lewis is 0-4. 

Yorktown at Westfield 

The Westfield Bulldogs edged out the Yorktown Patriots following a low-scoring offense by both teams, boosted by a defense that held the Patriots to one touchdown in the first half. The final score was 13-7. Westfield is 3-2 and Yorktown is 2-3. 

Mount Vernon at West Potomac 

The West Potomac Wolverines won out against the Mount Vernon Majors in the two schools’ rivalry known as “The Battle of the Highway.” The final score was 24-21. West Potomac is 3-1 and Mount Vernon is 2-3. 

The Falls Church Jaguars homecoming game against the Fairfax Lions was postponed. 

Centreville and Oakton had a bye week. The Wildcats are 3-1 and the Cougars are 5-0.

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