So even though most of the players who take the field for Friday’s matchup between Westfield and Centreville watched the previous meetings from the sidelines, the magnitude of the contest isn’t lost on them.
“Oh man, we’ve got to beat Centreville,” said Westfield senior offensive lineman Joon Yeo, who missed last year’s playoff contest with a knee injury. “It’s a huge rivalry with good players on both sides, so I’m excited.”
Though the Wildcats enter as the underdog, they possess plenty of momentum following last week’s wild 45-31 comeback win against Chantilly. Led by sophomores Charles Tutt (one interception and one touchdown reception) and A.J. Turner (60 rushing yards, two touchdowns and an interception), Centreville erased a 17-0 deficit by scoring on seven of its final eight possessions.
Of course, Wildcats Coach Chris Haddock would rather not see his team spot 17 points to Westfield this week, but he’s encouraged by the momentum built from its last victory.
“We showed a lot of resolve and responded when we had to, and that’s carried over into practice this week,” Haddock said. “Westfield has a lot of weapons and executes well, so it’s more a matter of us focusing on doing our part and doing it well so we can make the game a competitive one.”
In order to beat Westfield for just the second time since 2001, Centreville must be prepared to slow both facets of the Bulldogs’ offense. In last week’s win against Oakton, Westfield adjusted to the Cougars’ focus on the run by taking to the air, resulting in a big night for quarterback Chris Mullins (246 passing yards) and wideout Devon Burns (two touchdowns).
“The name of the game in high school is to kill the run, so we know Centreville might try to plug every hole and play close to the line, kind of like Oakton did against us last week,” Bulldogs Coach Kyle Simmons said. “We’ll just have to continue to trust our offense to break some big plays and trust our defense not to give up on any big plays on the other end.”
Stone Bridge gets a test, Robinson faces Oakton
To say No. 2 Stone Bridge has been dominant during its last four games might be an understatement. The Bulldogs (8-0) haven’t allowed more than a touchdown in that span, outscoring opponents by a score of 181-26. What’s more scary is that Coach Mickey Thompson said his team is the healthiest that it’s been all season.
Friday will pit the Bulldogs against perhaps their biggest test in the AAA Liberty District when they visit co-district leader Madison. The Warhawks (7-1) have shown a flair for the dramatic of late, twice overcoming second-half deficits to beat South Lakes and Fairfax.
Much of that is a credit to Madison’s defense, which has forced five turnovers in that stretch. A similar effort will be necessary to slow a Bulldogs offense featuring Stanford-bound quarterback Ryan Burns and tailback Sterling Dailey, who has racked up 274 yards and eight touchdowns in the last three games.