Centreville, Gonzaga to face off on football field

February 18, 2014

Second-team All-Met DB Charles Tutt (2) is one of four returning All-State players for Centreville, which will face WCAC power Gonzaga next season (Richard A. Lipski/The Washington Post).

Virginia 6A state champion Centreville and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference power Gonzaga will face off in a football contest on Sept. 5 at Centreville.

The game, which will feature the area’s top two projected football teams for the 2014 season, was confirmed by both coaches on Tuesday, marking a rare gridiron matchup between a public and private school.

“It’s a great thing for football in the Washington metropolitan area and we’re really excited for the opportunity,” Centreville Coach Chris Haddock said. “Gonzaga is one of the most highly respected programs in the nation and we’re excited to join forces with them for what should be a good challenge for both teams.”

Centreville finished atop the The Post Top 20 football rankings after going undefeated en route to the Virginia 6A state title. The Wildcats return four all-state juniors in All-Met running back-kick returner A.J. Turner, second-team All-Met defensive back-wide receiver Charles Tutt, offensive lineman Kainoa O’Conner and linebacker Tyler Love.

Second-team All-Met junior OL Richie Petitbon will help anchor Gonzaga's offense in its anticipated game with Centreville (Photo Courtesy of Gonzaga College High School) Second-team All-Met junior OL Richie Petitbon will help anchor Gonzaga’s offense in its anticipated game with Centreville (Photo Courtesy of Gonzaga College High School)

Gonzaga, which qualified for the WCAC playoffs last year, features five highly touted juniors in second-team All-Met offensive lineman Richie Petitbon (offers from Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State), running back Reggie Corbin, wide receiver Jabari Greenwood, quarterback Nick Johns and defensive back Marcus Lewis.

“It’s been years since a team from the [WCAC] has had a chance to play a public school team (from the area), so we saw it as a great opportunity,” Gonzaga Coach Aaron Brady said. “We’ve got several juniors with offers and they are very good as well.”

After several attempts to set up a similar contest with DeMatha and Good Counsel failed to pan out, Haddock and Brady began talking in January about a possible matchup. The discussion gained steam a few weeks ago when both Haddock and Brady attended a USA Football event in Indianapolis. From there, the biggest hurdle was finding an open or flexible date in their already-set schedules.

T.C. Williams, which was slated to play Centreville on Sept. 5, and Dunbar, which was set to play Gonzaga that weekend, agreed to swap opponents in order to make the game possible. As a result, T.C. Williams will host Dunbar in a Sept. 6 contest.

“T.C. Williams and Dunbar were gracious enough to switch, so we could make this happen,” Haddock said. “I think it benefits all four teams and makes for two great games that weekend.”

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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