Woodgrove Prepares to Face Off Against Cross-Town Rivals

Woodgrove Prepares to Face Off Against Cross-Town Rivals

The Wolverines of Purcellville, Virginia dress up in their brightest ‘wild-wear’ on the first Friday in November to support the Woodgrove football team as they face off against the Loudoun Valley Vikings, their cross-town rivals, in the biggest game of the season.
Sean Farrell, sports writer for VivaLoudoun says, “This game is a little bit about football, and a lot about a school and a town divided by growth and expansion.” This game is the heart of the small-town rivalry.
A rivalry, by definition, is a competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field. In this case, that field is high school academics and sports. High school rivalries have been around for over 100 years. One of the oldest, still-existing rivalries in the United States is right across the Potomac River in Washington, DC between Gonzaga College High School and St. John’s College High School. This rivalry was established in 1893 and the two schools have been playing each other every year since 1918. There have been numerous polls and surveys that have identified the Gonzaga-St. John’s rivalry as the best in the nation. This decision is based on the age of the rivalry and the passion of the students and faculty when it comes to competing against their opposing school.
Woodgrove and Loudoun Valley’s rivalry may not be as historic or well-known as Gonzaga and St. John’s, but it is just as important to the people of Purcellville. Loudoun Valley has been around since 1962 and was the only high school in the western end of the county for 48 years.
In 2000, officials realized that the school had become extremely overcrowded, with the student population having doubled since five years prior. It was at this point that the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors decided to build a second high school in western Loudoun, which became Woodgrove.
In 2006, the County voted to start construction of Woodgrove in Purcellville. Completed in 2010, Woodgrove High School was originally planned to be Loudoun Valley’s sister school. However, the relationship almost immediately turned into a strongly-spirited competition as to who would be the “best in the west” (western Loudoun County, that is).
In the past four years, out of every varsity sports game played, Woodgrove has won against Valley 33 out of 57 times. To the Wolverines, every game against Valley is a big one, no matter the sport. However, the most anticipated match of the year is the varsity football game against Valley. Last year, the game against Valley was one of the most popular among fans from both schools. The Wolverines crushed the Vikings with a score of 35-0. As soon as the fourth quarter timer ran out, the fans of Woodgrove jumped the fence and rushed the field, screaming and shouting to celebrate the big win. This year’s game is scheduled for Friday, November 7th.
Sophomore Hanah Smith says she is looking forward to it because, “They’re our cross-town rivals and it’s going to be so much fun!”
On Friday, November 7th, the Woodgrove varsity football team will be taking on Valley’s team for the fifth time since the school opened. As with any other upcoming game, the Woodgrove football team is working their hardest to prepare themselves to take home a victory.
Varsity football coach, Mike Skinner says that the main goals for his team are to “try to get better every day and minimize injuries.” When asked who they believe this year’s key players are, several coaches recognized Uzoma Kpaduwa, Dylan Mellor, Jake Wernle and Billy Sheehan as vital athletes on the field.
Kpaduwa, a safety for varsity football, believes that his biggest contribution to his team is his speed. He is also very dedicated to his sport. He said, “I do whatever is necessary to have my team get a win.” Kpaduwa, Wernle, and multiple coaches agree that the squad needs to take it “game by game” and not look too far ahead.
The long-awaited rivalry game is approaching quickly and with the past 3 games going to Woodgrove, the Wolverines feel secure with their odds of walking off the field with a victory.
Coach Mike Skinner said, “It all depends how well our offensive line plays. They’re the strength of our team.” He believes that the quarterbacks and wide receivers make some of the biggest contributions to the score of the game.
Rivalry games are almost always extremely intense games because of the massive amount of emotion involved for both the players and the spectators. Coaches never know what to think going into these types of games. Assistant Coach Joseph Spicer said, “Rivalry games are always iffy, but I like our chances.”