Charles Tutt knew it could be another year before he had an opportunity to run this play, so when he and his Centreville Wildcats teammates broke the huddle in the third quarter of Friday’s win against Robinson, the junior wide receiver made one thing clear.
“I told them that no matter what, I’m going to get the ball,” Tutt recalled. “If I’m not catching it, no one is. But I told them I was going to get it.”
The trick play, which Centreville Coach Chris Haddock rarely pulls out of his playbook, began with quarterback Scott Walter tossing the ball to running back A.J. Turner. After dropping back several steps, Turner lofted a throw from just inside the 50-yard-line.
At first glance, the pass appeared to be a sure interception as it floated into triple coverage. But true to his word, Tutt slowed down, jumped in between two Robinson defenders, wrestled the ball out of the air, gained his footing and turned before dashing five yards for what would be a 40-yard touchdown reception.
(I can assure you that my description doesn’t do the play justice, so scroll down and check out the No. 2 highlight in our weekly top plays video to see how it all went down).
“I’ve watched it over and over online,” Tutt said with a laugh. “It’s actually the same play we ran once last year with the same outcome and everything, but last year I lost my balance and fell at the 10-yard line after catching it. This time, I said I was going to score no matter what.”
While jaw-dropping plays can come few and far between, they are a common sight for the Wildcats, who witness Tutt’s athleticism and playmaking ability on a daily basis in practice.
Despite playing a full four quarters in just one of Centreville’s 10 games, Tutt has recorded 25 catches for 571 yards, 11 touchdowns, an interception and two forced fumbles, helping the Wildcats earn the top seed in the 6A North region playoffs. In Friday’s game alone, he caught the touchdown pass, intercepted a pass and returned a punt 54 yards for another score.
“He’s one of the best guys you’ll ever see playing the football,” Haddock said. “He has a knack for getting to the ball and just finding a way of getting his hands on it.”
When considering the limitations that Tutt encounters, his production is even more impressive. After earning All-Northern Region honors as a sophomore, this year many teams have taken the approach of simply not throwing Tutt’s way.
“It has gotten boring here and now, but I’ve learned you can’t take any plays off,” Tutt said. “When they don’t throw to my side, I just try to key in on the run and make an impact somewhere else.”
The times when teams do throw his way, the 5-foot-10 Tutt often finds himself going up against taller, bigger receivers. But the junior has learned to use his leaping ability and blazing speed to gain position and outduel the opposition, as he did Friday when pulling down his first interception of the year.
“Being physical and using my technique gives me a big boost, because when I’m aggressive, wide receivers have a harder time getting the ball,” Tutt said. “I know some teams will pick on me if they see me against a taller guy like on Friday, but size doesn’t matter to me.”
It’s also not likely to be a deterrent when Tutt’s recruitment is expected to heat up after the season. Virginia, Towson and Old Dominion have already shown strong interest with more likely to follow.
“I feel like I’ve really grown as a player since coming in as a sophomore,” Tutt said. “I’ve never really had a set position. I just work hard and try to make plays wherever I might be.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 22
Years since T.C. Williams last made the football playoffs. The school of “Remember the Titans” fame ended that drought this year, placing them on a short list of Northern Virginia schools who will return to postseason play after lengthy absences.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Check out this week’s installment of the top plays from around the area, including the aforementioned tremendous catch by Tutt at No. 2.
–See which players made the final installment of our All-Met Watch for the football season. (The All-Met teams will be published on Dec. 15.)
–Poolesville swept Rising Sun in straight sets on Monday to advance to Saturday’s Maryland 2A state volleyball final against Patuxent.
–Despite missing the playoffs, Oxon Hill produced its best record in five years.
–In just its second year of varsity play, Patriot has clinched its first playoff spot as the No. 6 seed in the 6A North region.
–Hayfield clinched one of the last playoff spots in the 6A North with a “sloppy” comeback win against Edison.
–Westlake, which has the most playoff appearances in SMAC history, notched another with a win in Friday’s regular-season finale.
–Following a 2-3 start, Clarksburg used a playoff approach to rebound and qualify for the postseason.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Maryland 3A volleyball state semifinals at Ritchie Coliseum, 6 and 8 p.m.
The playoff battles continue as Glenelg takes on Damascus in the first game and La Plata clashes with Bel Air in the second contest for the right to play in Saturday’s championship.