SPORTS MIKE: Patriot’s Bently, Rodriguez Valle Prepare to Meet Battlefield

| November 6, 2015 | 0 Comments | Sports, Sports Mike

Listen to Mike Ploger’s in-depth interview with Patriot High School junior quarterback Patrick Bentley and senior running back Jose Rodriguez Valle.

A rivalry just three years in the making comes down to all of 60 minutes for the Patriot Pioneers football team to make one last push into the postseason.

Patriot (4-5, 3-0) will make the 11-mile trek to Battlefield (7-2, 3-0) Friday night. The Pioneers are in the midst of a three-game win streak as the Bobcats are unbeaten since the end of September.

It’s no secret who has helped Patriot claw back from a 1-5 start to a potential playoff birth. Junior quarterback Patrick Bentley and senior running back Jose Rodriguez Valle have carried the team to a combined 123 points scored over the past three weeks.

Over that span, Rodriguez has emerged as the teams leading rusher carrying the ball for 453 yards and five touchdowns. The transfer out of Union City High School in New Jersey lived in the area growing up, and convinced his parents that Virginia was the place to play his senior year.

“My whole childhood was here…I told my parents I came back for a reason,” Rodriguez Valle says. “Hopefully to get a scholarship, or at least play my last year as a senior here.”

His quarterback seems to be his biggest competition when it comes to the teams rushing leader. Bentley has used his size to rush for seven touchdowns during the three game span, on top of two touchdowns through the air.

The one-two punch has been lethal for the Patriots.  Perhaps their toughest contest of the year comes Friday night as they battle a Bobcats defense which allows just over 10 points per game.

Rodriguez Valle has played cornerback for Patriot as well, and he’ll be faced with the tough task of stopping Battlefield’s Zac Kerxton. Coming from New Jersey and growing up with older brothers, Rodriguez is no stranger to shutting down top talent.

“He has pretty nice talent, but I’m not even worried,” says Rodriguez Valle. “I’ve been playing with D1 players practically my whole life. Especially my brother, he’s running a 4.42 flat [40-yard dash].

Patrick Bentley has led both the freshmen and junior varsity teams to undefeated seasons prior to his junior year call-up. When you watch him on the field, it’s easy to confuse him with that of Tim Tebow. Both wear the number 15, both have a bruising style with an itch to pass the ball, and most importantly, both are no stranger to the end zone.

Despite just three contests between the two schools, this matchup is one of the most intriguing high school rivalries in Northern Virginia.

Trading victories since Patriot started varsity play in 2012, Battlefield is the most recent victor. The Bobcats topped Patriot nearly a year ago to the day by a score of 28-13 in route to a final eight appearance in the state tournament.

Is it time for payback? Not necessarily. Bentley looks at it as any other week, but is looking forward to Patriot fans following the team to Haymarket with a postseason birth on the line.

“I don’t think we look at it as payback,” says Bentley. “We just want to make the playoffs and get the win.”

It’s just that simple for the Patriot Pioneers. Under head coach Brud Bicknell, the school has an opportunity to play in the postseason for the third straight year. For a program only sporting a varsity squad since 2012, coach Bicknell is establishing himself an impressive résumé.

Can Patriot ride this hot streak into the postseason? Will Rodriguez Valle shut down Kerxton? Can a first year quarterback in Patrick Bentley continue his team’s season?

Find out at 7:00 at Battlefield High School for the final regular season game of 2015.

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Mike Ploger has spent the entirety of his life in Northern Virginia, with the exception of earning his Broadcast Journalism Degree from West Virginia University. He eats, breathes, and sleeps sports in the area unless he’s out riding his unicycle or playing a round of disc golf.

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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