Centreville senior Mike Williams rushed for 262 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to an upset of No. 4 Fairfax, 28-12, in a AAA Division 6 Northern Region semifinal last night at Fairfax.
Centreville (9-2) will play Lake Braddock, which defeated Robinson, 17-0, in the other semifinal, in the region final next Saturday at W.T. Woodson.
The tone was set on Centreville's opening possession, a drive that covered 64 yards in 2 minutes 32 seconds. It ended with Williams's first score of the night, a nine-yard run to give Centreville a 6-0 lead.
The Fairfax defense was caught on its heels early and its offense, which helped lead the school to a 10-0 regular season record and the Liberty District title, also started slow.
Meanwhile, Williams continued to run past Fairfax's defense, which had surrendered only 79 points during the regular season.
"They had a fast defense," said Williams, who began his high school career playing for Fairfax but transferred after his freshman year when his family moved out of the district. "But I got to the holes first.
"That was my best game ever," he added with a big smile. "We thought we could have a big game."
Fairfax rallied from a 14-0 deficit late in the game and came within a two-point conversion of tying it early in the fourth quarter after running back Brandon Royster scored his second touchdown. Royster's 21-yard touchdown reception cut the Centreville lead to 14-12 with 11:05 to play. But Ian McAlpine's pass into the end zone fell incomplete on the two-point attempt.
Moments later, Williams (6 feet 1, 195 pounds) crushed any hopes of a Fairfax comeback with a 60-yard touchdown run to stretch the Centreville lead to 21-12.
"I think Mike is the best player in the state at his position," Centreville quarterback Sam McElroy said. "He's what we base our offense on. Defenses have to watch him, so it frees up our other weapons."
Fairfax's slow start was caused by Centreville's ability to stop Royster, who amassed 1,611 yards and scored 21 touchdowns during the regular season, in the first half. He ran for only 14 yards on nine carries in the first half, but finished with 90 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He scored his first touchdown on a 13-yard reverse, which cut the Centreville lead to 14-6 with 3:26 remaining in the third quarter.
"That was our game plan--to take Royster out of it early," Centreville Coach Mike Skinner said. "We made sure of that."
The first half belonged to Centreville. After Williams's score on the opening drive, the visitors extended their lead to 14-0 in the second quarter on a score by running back Gregory Hamilton and two-point conversion run by McElroy.
"That was our worst game of the season," said defensive lineman Jason Smith, who was the first player out of Fairfax's tear-filled locker room. "We're all just real disappointed right now."