Yorktown senior running back Anthony Tigney felt he had to redeem himself going into last night's Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 5 final. Tigney, who rushed for 1,180 yards in the regular season, was benched for last week's playoff opener because of excessive tardiness in school.
Consider Tigney redeemed. He rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries to lift Yorktown to a 40-12 victory over South Lakes at Patricia Bergen Stadium in Reston. Yorktown (9-3) will face Central Region champion Henrico in the Division 5 semifinals next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at W.T. Woodson High School.
"I felt like I had something to prove," said Tigney, who has rushed for 1,313 yards this season. "It feels good. From now on, I'm going to be on time."
Tigney put Yorktown ahead to stay with a 36-yard touchdown run on the Patriots' first offensive series. Tigney rushed for 50 yards on the drive.
"I was just following my blockers the whole way and made a couple good moves," said Tigney, who added second-half touchdown runs of four and 20 yards to secure the win.
South Lakes (8-4) took the opening kickoff and drove 51 yards on 14 plays in 5 minutes 41 seconds to the Yorktown 32. But the Seahawks were stopped when backup quarterback Dustin Hellenga threw incomplete on fourth down.
Hellenga, who entered the evening as the Northern Region's receiving leader in yards with 945 on 40 receptions, was forced to take over for starter Chris Royal (1,552 passing yards) on the first series last week. His inexperience showed as he completed 1 of 14 passes for eight yards and one interception and missed his final 13 passes.
"We missed Chris Royal," South Lakes Coach Dennis Randolph said. "Chris is an emotional leader. Last week, when Chris went out [with a broken bone in his left wrist], Dustin played above what he should've been playing. He belongs at receiver."
Two possessions later, South Lakes drove to the Yorktown 19 after recovering a botched snap of a punt. But the Seahawks were stopped again on fourth down when Hellenga overthrew a receiver in the end zone.
"Not having Hellenga at wide receiver hurt them," Yorktown Coach Bruce Hanson said. "But we're really proud of our defense for stepping up."
Randolph again decided to go on fourth and four from the Yorktown 44 with 3:07 remaining in the half, and running back Anthony McGhee was brought down two yards short by Patriots linebacker Joe Nicosia. Yorktown then drove 58 yards in six plays and went ahead 14-0 when Donovan Carmichael went in from four yards over the tackle.
Yorktown, which lost 34-7 to South Lakes in Week 4, compiled 345 offensive yards and scored on four of five second-half possessions.
"I didn't expect to win 40-12," Hanson said. "I hurt us when they beat us 34-7. We thought if a couple of plays went differently last game it would've been closer. We knew we had a good chance to win this game."
CAPTION: South Lakes's Anthony Clavijo skips past Yorktown's Alex Hachana for a few yards during playoff game.