Virginia AAA Division 6

Oscar Smith Beats Osbourn for Virginia AAA Division 6 Title

Osbourn started the season 3-4, but beat three undefeated opponents on its way to yesterday's championship game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg.
Osbourn started the season 3-4, but beat three undefeated opponents on its way to yesterday's championship game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg. (By Tracy A. Woodward -- The Washington Post)
By Matthew Stanmyre
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, December 7, 2008

BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 6 -- Osbourn quarterback Thomas Keith threw a late touchdown pass yesterday and allowed himself to lightly pump his fists. It didn't matter by how much the 10th-ranked Eagles were losing -- Keith was going to play as hard and as fast as he could until it was over.

On the Osbourn sideline, many of the team's players sat on the frigid bench staring blankly ahead as flurries fell from the sky and coated their grass-streaked jerseys. But after Keith helped the Eagles punch in the two-point conversion, capping their shocking 54-24 loss to Oscar Smith in the Virginia AAA Division 6 championship at Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium, he sprinted off the field yelling and screaming, a few ounces of fight still left in him.

There was no faulting Keith for scrapping with the outcome all but decided. Osbourn, after all, had embodied the underdog spirit this season, beginning the playoffs as an afterthought before toppling three straight undefeated opponents to earn an improbable spot in the final game of the year.

"It's all right to be upset," Osbourn Coach Steve Schultze shouted to his players, who knelt around him in the middle of the field just after the final whistle. "But you made it to the state championship game, and no one can ever take that away from you. You can hold your heads high for the rest of your life."

Osbourn (9-5) rebounded from a 3-4 start to the season to reel off a stunning string of postseason upsets, but the run was stopped by powerful Oscar Smith (14-0), which won its first state title. The Tigers, who boast four Division I recruits and 31 players heavier than 200 pounds, outscored opponents this year by a combined score of 583-107 and won 11 games by more than 30 points.

Oscar Smith showed its brilliance from the start, taking the opening kickoff and driving 71 yards to the end zone in only 2 minutes 25 seconds. The next time the Tigers got the ball, they scored on their first play when Virginia-bound wide receiver Tim Smith took a short pass across the middle of the field and zipped past the Osbourn defense for a 64-yard touchdown.

Six minutes into the game, Oscar Smith led 13-0. By the half, they were up 34-0.

"It's definitely disappointing," Osbourn center Travis Bruns said. "You make it this far, you want to go out with a bang."

Instead, Oscar Smith did. Tigers quarterback Phillip Sims, one of the nation's top recruits, threw for five touchdowns in the first half. Sims, who passed for 334 yards and six scores, set a Virginia High School League record for touchdowns thrown in a playoff game. Smith caught six passes for 224 yards and a AAA state playoff record four receiving touchdowns.

Osbourn never got going -- it was outgained 334-46 in the first half, and did not score until late in the third quarter, after Oscar Smith had built a 40-0 lead.

"I am kind of upset of how the game went, but we had a good season," Osbourn nose guard Tyler Brown said. "Sometimes, I didn't think we'd make it this far, but my team gave me confidence that we would. I'm just proud to be here."

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