Westfield’s offense had been unable to muster much of anything throughout Friday night’s Virginia AAA Concorde District showdown at No. 2 Centreville. So after settling for a field goal in the first overtime, a Bulldogs assistant stepped toward the defensive huddle and its captain, Mo Katz.
“I want a turnover,” he shouted.
On the next play, Westfield linebacker Bo Hartman met Centreville’s running back at the line of scrimmage and heeded the directive.
“I just came up to fill, Mo told me they were going to run [isolation]. He called the play,” Hartman said. “I just hit him, put my hand on the ball and punched it out. I felt the ball squeeze out and heard the crowd just go nuts.”
Hartman’s forced fumble was recovered by Tyrone Walker, giving the fourth-ranked Bulldogs a 13-10 win before a standing-room only crowd of approximately 7,000 in Clifton. The win also gives Westfield the inside track on both the district title and the top seed in the Northern Region playoffs.
Westfield (9-0, 4-0) managed just 74 yards of offense and five first downs but made up for those struggles with a towering defensive performance and two huge plays on special teams, none bigger than the kickoff to open the second half.
Up 10-0 at intermission, Centreville (8-1, 3-1) tried some trickery to start the third quarter, attempting a reverse on the return. But as the Centreville returner took the handoff he was met by senior linebacker Matt Craft, who knocked the ball loose. Westfield junior Beau Donahue picked up the ball at the 4-yard line and stumbled into the end zone to cut the lead to 10-7.
“We had a good idea of what they were going to try to do,” Bulldogs Coach Kyle Simmons said. “And I asked my kickoff team just to be disciplined and do what I ask them to do and I think we caught them off-guard a little bit with the reverse, that we were there.”
The Bulldogs’ special teams stepped up again early in the fourth quarter, when a poor long snap on a Centreville punt set up Westfield at the Wildcats 22-yard line. The Bulldogs moved to the 5 before stalling, but a 24-yard Matt Delaney field goal set the stage for overtime.
After Delaney’s field goal in overtime, Katz made the defensive call, and Hartman and Walker handled the rest, putting Westfield one win away from an undefeated regular season.
“It feels good,” Walker said. “We needed this win, we deserved it. We showed everyone that we’re not underdogs, we came to play and we’re number one.”