Twice during the third quarter of Saturday’s Virginia 6A North region semifinal against Stonewall Jackson, Centreville wide receiver Charles Tutt — ailing from violent hamstring cramps — yanked himself from the game, collapsed to the turf and lay flat on his back near the Wildcats’ bench.
Some of Tutt’s teammates played athletic trainer, hoisting one leg at a time into the air in attempts to stretch him out, while others stood by and added commentary.
As Tutt sipped at a citrus-flavored Body Armor sports drink, Wildcats Coach Chris Haddock made his way toward the scene along the sideline.
“I need you out there, Chuck,” Haddock said.
Tutt reentered on Centreville’s next drive and proved no worse for wear. Off play-action, quarterback Scott Walter found Tutt streaking down the right sideline for a 46-yard touchdown reception, a fourth-quarter score that served as the proverbial dagger in the second-ranked Wildcats’ 52-27 win.
“We know their corners are really aggressive, so we did a few play-action reads, and we knew they’d bite on it,” said Tutt, who finished with four catches for 157 yards. “I did a little stutter-step, he bit on it and I was wide open.”
Centreville (13-0) will host No. 7 Westfield, a 19-16 winner over No. 3 Lake Braddock, in next week’s region final.
A 15-yard run by Greg Stroman with 9 minutes 28 seconds to play in the first quarter put No. 19 Stonewall Jackson (8-5) on the board first. The teams traded touchdowns until Centreville’s AJ Turner scored on a two-yard run with 18 seconds left in the half to put the Wildcats up 21-14.
“A lot of front-running teams are just yelling at each other and getting really mad at each other,” said Turner, who scored three touchdowns on the day. “But we’re a family, and if we’re going to mess up, we’re going to mess up together.”
Turner wasn’t about to mess up. The junior gave Centreville its first two-score lead of the game when he returned the second-half kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.
Most of Centreville’s return plays are designed to run up the middle of the field, Turner said, but he always baits the opponent’s gunners by sprinting a few steps toward the sideline before picking his crease.
“We knew what we needed to do to get the momentum changed,” Turner said. “Everybody blocked the same way they usually do, and that was a big play for us. It was wide open, and all I had to do was beat the kicker, and I knew I could do that.”