Teams led by Hylton Coach Lou Sorrentino and Landstown Coach Chris Beatty faced each other three times several years ago when Sorrentino coached at Culpeper and Beatty coached at North Stafford.
Culpeper won all three games -- 17-10 in 1998, 49-28 in 1999 and 21-14 in overtime in 2000 -- facing Beatty's spread offense, similar to what he's running at Landstown.
North Stafford lost the Virginia AAA Northwestern Region Division 6 championship to Hylton in 1999 by a 24-6 score.
"We're a lot of the same style, we just do more stuff now and I like to think I coach a little bit better after a couple of years," said Beatty, a Chantilly graduate who is 39-1 in three seasons at Landstown.
"We're up-tempo, no-huddle and we're going to chuck it around, but we feel like we can run it, too, and feel like we play good defense."
Landstown's last loss was to Westfield in the 2003 state championship.
Beatty quarterbacks now own the top four spots in the Virginia High School League record book for yards passing in one season. Tops on the list is former Landstown quarterback Terry Mitchell (3,779 in 2003), followed by Salem-Virginia Beach's Mike Biehl (3,630 in 2001), current Landstown quarterback Donny Kirby (3,429) and North Stafford's Chris Ashinhurst (3,306 in 1999).
It's not always the prolific passing game that earns the Eagles headlines, however. Receiver Percy Harvin, one of 16 finalists for the Parade All-America High School Player of the Year award, was suspended for two games for making contact with an official and using inappropriate language. The team had to forfeit four games for using an ineligible player, although the VHSL overturned that decision and restored the victories. The VHSL also sent Landstown a letter of warning for unsportsmanlike behavior, citing incidents both this season and last.
So just as Landstown is known for its offense, it also has gained a reputation as a troubled program, a notion that Beatty rejects.
"I think it's misperception," he said. "A lot of people aren't really informed so they make judgments and assumptions on things they really haven't seen. We're not any different from any other team. Do we have a little bit of a swagger? Maybe. Do we feel like we're going to win? I don't think we're any different than Hylton or anybody else that's successful. You expect to win.
"I wouldn't say that [the reputation] is something we deserve, but at the same time, it doesn't really bother me too much."
Dill Gets Ready
Hylton senior Marshall Dill is looking forward to trying to contain Harvin and Damon McDaniel, two of the most highly recruited receivers in the country.
"If I view myself as a Division I recruit, why not go up against the best player in the nation?" Dill said of Harvin. "I think it's going to be a great challenge for me."
As a team, Hylton has intercepted 20 passes this season.
The Price Is Right
Junior receiver Fred Massa, who toward the end of the season pulled a muscle in his hip, returned to the lineup Saturday and caught two touchdown passes against Osbourn, after catching only one scoring pass the first 11 games.
The two throws to Massa, and another to Dill, gave junior quarterback Darius Reynolds 19 touchdown passes this season, with just two interceptions, justifying his nickname -- "Money."
"We've been calling him this for years because his throws are on the money," Massa said.