NEWPORT NEWS, VA., DEC. 1 -- It was vintage West Potomac football. Without one standout performer but with a dominating team effort, the Wolverines brushed aside Warwick of Newport News, 35-0, at Todd Field today to advance to the Virgina Group AAA Division 5 state championship next week at Potomac.
West Potomac is last year's Division 6 state champion and, after moving down to Division 5, can capture back-to-back championships in different divisions.
After losing the first two games of the season by 7-0 scores, the Wolverines (11-2) have won 11 straight games, 25 of the last 27 and 34 of the last 38 -- primarily with defensive intimidation.
West Potomac has allowed only 45 points this season, and two touchdowns were with the offense on the field. It was its third straight shutout and seventh of the season.
Warwick (9-4) had come from behind to win both of its playoff games, but after falling behind by 14-0 in the first half, it had no chance.
West Potomac limited the Raiders to 42 first-half yards and 118 overall, forcing Warwick from its run-oriented game plan early in the second quarter.
Behind the quick-strike backfield of quarterback Mario Haskett and running backs Melvin Haskett and Tremayne Jernigan, the Raiders have averaged 28 points per game. But with an unsuccessful running game, Mario Haskett was forced to pass, which is not his most proficient skill.
Warwick's passing game consisted mostly of wide receiver Marlon Hooker running one-on-one fly patterns against Richard Crosby. Haskett completed just six of 19 passes for 36 yards and was intercepted once.
"Don't they all try to work on poor little Richard over there?" said West Potomac Coach Dan Meier. "He's only 5 feet 5, if that, and he does a great job."
Haskett did complete one 41-yard touchdown pass to Hooker in the second quarter that would have made it 14-7, but Hooker was whistled for offensive interference and the score was negated.
The Wolverines quick-kicked on their next possession. Antonio Banks picked up the bouncing ball and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown, but the Raiders were called for clipping.
"The two penalties really changed the complexion of the game," said Warwick Coach Bill Lyons.
West Potomac also uses a run-oriented offense and a stable of running backs. But the closest it had to having a star was Shawn Freeman, who had 79 yards on 14 carries, including a 29-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The Wolverines used three runners and two passes by quarterback Matt Browne to take the opening kickoff and march 63 yards in 13 plays. After converting a fourth-and-inches play from the 7, Browne sneaked over from the 1. Lars Oestevold's kick made it 7-0.
West Potomac forced Warwick to punt from its 20 on its second possession of the second quarter. Meier called on his punt rush team -- his SWAT team -- and Jon King, the team's leading tackler the last two years, shot in and blocked Randy Harrell's kick.
Two plays later Browne hit Ed Brunson, who bulled his way in for the nine-yard score.
On its first possession of the second half, West Potomac caught Warwick's secondary napping, and Browne hit Freeman, who was sprinting up a seam in the middle of the field, for a 48-yard scoring strike.
"That score was instrumental," said Meier. "There's no lead that's safe with these guys."
Except a 35-0 lead.