McLean quarterback

McLean quarterback Bijan Soltani. (Photo by Deb Kolt)

The McLean Highlanders opened their high-school football season with a 28-14 victory over the visiting Mount Vernon Majors on Feb. 27. McLean fell behind 7-0 on a long touchdown pass, then rallied.

"We blew a coverage on that play, but we were able to respond and finally got our offense going," McLean coach John Scholla said. "They were a physical team and they took away our running game, so we resorted more to the pass. It was a great home opener."

McLean quarterback Bijan Soltani completed 11 of 31 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the TDs went to Billy Ludwick and the other to Nicholas Halteh. Ludwick caught six passes for 94 yards and Halteh three for 91. Bryce Molnar and Zaven Malik each caught one pass.

On the ground, Ryan Jessar rushed for 33 yards and a TD and Soltani had nine yards rushing with lineman Liam Downey and center Nicky Varela leading the way.

Leading McLean on defense was linebacker Alec Butler with 11 solo tackles. Phillippe Kabasele had two sacks and eight combined tackles, Conner Greer had 13 combined tackles and an interception and Jessar had an interception and was in on 11 tackles.

"Our defense played terrific and physical," Scholla said. "They were flying around the field, and we put pressure on their quarterback. We have a senior-heavy team with players here who have been through a lot. They are believing they can compete."

McLean finished 5-5 last season after finishing 0-10 the previous two campaigns.

* The Oakton Cougars lost to the host Fairfax Lions, 18-8, in their season opener in non-district play. The Cougars led 8-0, which included a safety, at the end of the first quarter, but did not score again.

"We shot ourselves in the foot too many times," Oakton coach Mel Morgan said. "We had the chances we wanted and we didn't capitalize. Our defense did excellent creating multiple turnovers [four], and our offense just needs to catch up. There were a ton of bright spots in terms of plays and players."

Junior Nick Toole quarterbacked in the game and Andrew Franko was a top producer on offense.

In its second game, Oakton rallied from a 22-14 halftime deficit to defeat the visiting Langley Saxons, 28-22. Toole threw two touchdowns passes to Franko in the victory.

The game was the season opener for Langley.

For Langley in the game, quarterback Brendan Mansinne was 16 of 30 passing for 133 yards and a touchdown and he ran for 92 yards and a score.

Zach Cash added 40 yards rushing.

Michael Hoeymans caught seven passes for 101 yards and a TD, Collin Affleck caught three for eight yards and Diop Nico and Gabe Goldstein had two catches each.

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