West Springfield relived a week-old nightmare last night.

The Spartans blew a 21-point lead for the second straight game and lost to Centreville in overtime, 24-21, in a Virginia AAA Northern District game at Centreville.

After stopping West Springfield on four downs on its overtime possession, Centreville kicker-quarterback Bjorn Merten booted a 27-yard, first-down field goal for the victory.

West Springfield lost, 28-27, to Edison in overtime last week after leading by 21 points as well.

"I'm sure {last week's loss} was affecting the kids," said West Springfield Coach Frank Creneti. "But they have to learn to overcome those types of things."

The Spartans rang up the lead behind Mike McCarter's 98-yard kickoff return to open the game and Demetrius Bolton's touchdown runs of three and two yards.

It didn't appear possible to have the same thing happen again. Especially the way Centreville played in the first half. Running back Mike Donovan ran for 53 yards in the first half and the rest of the Wildcats' offense totaled minus-eight yards.

So when the Spartans recovered a Merten fumble on Centreville's 28 with 2:57 left in the first half, Creneti didn't choose to run up the score, and instead threw incomplete on first down and ran unsuccessfully the final three downs.

Just the edge the Wildcats needed.

They started the second half with a 12-play, 56-yard drive that ended in an interception. But it gave Centreville the confidence it needed.

After forcing the Spartans to punt, Centreville scored on a 14-play, five-minute, 36-yard drive. That's right, 36 yards in 14 plays. But that's the patience the Wildcats displayed.

Centreville then recovered quarterback Pat Wolan's fumble on the Spartans' 28, and used another eight plays to score, aided by a roughing the passer penalty on fourth and nine.

Then Centreville's Joey Holbrook blocked Will Burkett's punt right into the arms of Chris George, who ran it 25 yards into the end zone, and the evening was all but over for West Springfield.

"We reminded our kids about their game last week . . . and we told our kids if we could just get one touchdown, then we could get more," said Centreville Coach Neil Callahan.

He was right.