There was a little bit of everything as the 2004 Northern Region football season got underway last week. Four teams were on the wrong side of lopsided shutouts, and seven games were decided by one score or less.
Top Individual Performer
Evan Royster, Westfield
Defending Virginia AAA Division 6 champion and seventh-ranked Westfield lost All-Met Offensive Player of the Year Eddie Royal and All-Met quarterback Sean Glennon to graduation, but the third cog in the Bulldogs' 2003 offensive machine is back. And last Friday, in a 26-24 victory over Annandale, he showed the cupboard is far from empty at Westfield.
Royster rushed 21 times for 235 yards and two touchdowns and made perhaps the play of the game. With 18 seconds left in the first half and his team trailing 17-13, Royster ripped off a 56-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish.
Royster's performance was complemented nicely by junior quarterback Val Arduini. Making his first start, Arduini was efficient, completing four of six passes for 48 yards and two touchdowns.
Top Team Performance
The Cougars opened the 2004 season with a convincing 24-0 victory over arch-rival Madison on Friday. The teams' previous three games had been decided by a total of nine points, but Oakton was in control this time. The Cougars' defense held the Warhawks, the defending Northern Region Division 5 champion, to 152 yards of total offense, while its offense was balanced and efficient.
Junior running back Keith Payne led the way for Oakton with 126 yards on 13 carries, and senior Bobby Fitton contributed 76 yards on five carries. Senior quarterback Reid Teschner completed six of 11 pass attempts for 58 yards, including a touchdown to Cody Grimm, and no interceptions.
Number of the Week
Offensive snaps taken by No. 3 Centreville in its 28-7 victory over West Springfield last Friday. The number is a bit deceiving, however.
"West Springfield helped us because if you throw the ball every down, the clock never runs," Centreville Coach Mike Skinner said. "Even their completed passes, a lot were outs that went out of bounds. That has a lot to do with lengthening the game."
More importantly for the Wildcats was what they did with those snaps. Centreville showed off a balanced attack, passing for 210 yards and rushing for more than 215. Junior quarterback Drew Dudzik completed 14 of 24 pass attempts for 210 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions and also ran for a score. He would have had about 60 more yards, but several completions were negated by penalties. Junior running back Darryl Thornton rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries, and junior receiver Cameron Dohse caught five passes for 138 yards and a score.