By Matt Brooks and James Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, December 12, 2010; 12:25 AM
When No. 8 Briar Woods took the field Saturday for its first-ever Virginia AA Division 4 football final at Liberty University's Williams Stadium, the Falcons carried the spirit of an athlete they'd never met from a school 90 miles away: Louisa senior lineman Josh Campi.
One day in practice this past June, Campi came off the field with a bloody nose. The bleeding did not stop and Campi collapsed and had to be taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital where leukemia was diagnosed.
All season the Lions sported Campi's No. 63 on their helmets. And when Louisa's 11-0 run came to an end against Broad Run on Nov. 19, the Falcons picked up the cause on their way to winning a state championship.
Before their Region II final win over the Spartans, Briar Woods players affixed the No. 63 stickers to their helmets and over the past three weeks, the Falcons have been collecting "Change for Josh" donations to donate to Campi's family to cover medical costs. By mid-November, the Lions already had raised more than $30,000 and the Briar Woods community added to that total at last week's state semifinal.
"He didn't have the chance to play out his high school career, and you figure this was probably his last season of football," Briar Woods senior lineman Gabe Sosa said. "We wanted to do something to show our support. It just made sense."Backs boost Battlefield
All season long, No. 5 Battlefield has relied on a trio of running backs - seniors Nagee Jackson, Terrell Tapscott and Cedric Agyeman - to carry its offense. As the leader of the bunch, Jackson ran for 1,120 yards and 22 touchdowns, and the trio combined for 2,133 yards and 30 touchdowns.
In Saturday's Virginia AAA Division 6 final against undefeated Hermitage, Tapscott and Agyeman - who had missed some time recently - made key contributions on the ground to help propel the Bobcats to a 26-7 win.
Tapscott, who sat out of the Bobcats' 42-14 win over Colonial Forge in the Northwest Region final because of a death in family, ran for 27 yards on four carries. Agyeman, who missed two playoff games for disciplinary reasons, also chipped in with 26 yards on three carries. In all, the three backs combined for 88 yards.
"It's great," Agyeman said. "Each of us has a different element to the game."Kicking off for offense
Looking for a spark while facing a 13-7 deficit late in the second quarter in the Virginia AAA Division 5 final against Phoebus on Saturday, No. 1 Stone Bridge turned to its special teams at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville.
Senior Spenser Rositano hit a short kickoff, 44 yards to the opposite side of the field, and caught the Phantoms off guard. Two Phoebus players watched as the ball bounced past them, and the Bulldogs recovered it at the 16-yard line. One play later, Rositano, also a wide receiver, caught a 16-yard pass to allow the Bulldogs to take a 14-13 lead.
Stone Bridge repeated the success on the next kickoff, a 23-yard kick that a Phoebus player fumbled. And again, the Bulldogs took advantage with a field goal on the ensuing drive.
"We were trying to get the ball back and we felt like that was the most effective way," Rositano said. "And it just happened to hit to the ground and our guys got down there and picked it up."Annandale's all-American
Ahmed Bile capped a brilliant cross-country season by earning all-American honors at Foot Locker Nationals on Saturday in San Diego. The Annandale junior came in 14th out of 40 runners after completing the 5K Balboa Park course in 15 minutes 33 seconds.
Sidwell Friends senior John McGowan wasn't far behind. He was 16th in 15:37, but missed the cutoff for all-American distinction by one place.
Lake Braddock's Sophie Chase was the only area girl to reach Saturday's championships, but she struggled. The sophomore finished 38th and her time of 18:53 was the slowest of her season.
Lukas Verzbicas (Illinois) was the boys' winner in an electrifying 14:59. Aisling Cuffe (New York) won the girls' race in 16:53.
Special correspondent Carl Little contributed to this report.