Preview: Battlefield at Hylton

November 15, 2012

Usually when a three-time defending champion of something is aiming for a fourth consecutive title, the onus is on that team to win because it doesn’t want to be the one that allows the streak to end.

Such is the case for Battlefield (8-3) with its string of three consecutive Virginia AAA Northwest Region Division 6 titles.

But consider the opponent. Hylton (8-2) has beaten Battlefield in each of the past three regular seasons, including handing the Bobcats their first shutout loss in 73 games Aug. 31. But the Bulldogs lost to Battlefield in the 2010 and 2011 playoffs.

A Battlefield senior, such as four-year starting lineman Brandon Dukeman, would like to graduate knowing nothing but region titles and state playoff appearances. Just as much, the Bulldogs seniors who have started for three years — linebacker Jack Francis and offensive lineman Chasz Wright — do not want to go down as the team that went 28-2 during the regular season but couldn’t beat the Bobcats when it counted.

“This will be the third year we’ve lost, if we lose, and none of us wants to go out that way,” said Francis, the team’s second-leading tackler. “We’re hungry to change people’s expectations. People know. We hear things from people, telling us, ‘Make sure you guys don’t choke.’ ”

—Preston Williams

AAA Northwest Region Division 6 semifinal

Tonight, 7:30 p.m.

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