South Lakes running back Charles Mayah scampered 15 yards up the middle for the winning touchdown with 3 minutes 33 seconds remaining as the Seahawks defeated No. 17 W.T. Woodson, 7-2, yesterday in the Virginia AAA Division 5 Northern Region final before approximately 3,500 on a chilly, windswept afternoon in Fairfax.
The victory clinched a remarkable turnaround for South Lakes, which won only one game last season, and marked the Reston school's first region title since 1991. The triumph also puts the Seahawks (9-3) in the state semifinals, where they will face defending champion Phoebus (12-0) next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Darling Stadium in Hampton.
Meantime, W.T. Woodson finished its best season in school history at 9-3.
"After halftime, I didn't think I was going to get the ball again because their defense was keying on me," said Mayah, who finished with 68 yards on eight carries. "But then my number got called. I wanted to make sure I did something with the ball."
Trailing 2-0 midway through the fourth quarter, South Lakes was forced to punt.
David Lansdowne, instructed by his coaches to keep his punts low and out of the hands of Cavaliers' kick returners, booted a line drive from his 40. The ball skipped off the ground, bounced off the shin of a Woodson player and into the waiting hands of the Seahawks' Dan Smith, who fell on the ball at the Cavaliers 27.
Two plays later, Mayah, a 5-foot-8, 185-pound junior, took the ball up the middle for the decisive score.
Hylton Finishes Fast
Twelth-ranked Osbourn Park had defending Virginia AAA Division 6 Northwestern Region champion Hylton on the ropes in the first half last night, but in the end, there was nothing they could do to lasso Bulldogs senior quarterbackJeff Overton.
Fifth-ranked Hylton scored four unanswered touchdowns -- all courtesy of the 5-foot-8, 165-pound Overton -- to pull away for a 27-10 victory and a fifth straight region championship, setting up a state semifinal next Saturday against Thomas Dale, the team that eliminated the Bulldogs out of the state semifinals last year.
Osbourn Park (10-2), in the region championship for the first time in the 27-year history of the school, early on turned two muffed punts into 10 points and was on the verge of shutting down Hylton (11-1) for the first two quarters.
But late in the first half, seemingly trapped behind the line of scrimmage on first and 20 around midfield, Overton wriggled loose and broke down the right sideline for a 34-yard gain. Three plays later, Overton scored from nine yards.
McClelland Leads Stafford
It was little secret that Thomas McClelland would get the ball on offense for Stafford. And with another dominating performance from the Indians' senior workhorse, there was little doubt about the outcome.
McClelland rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown on 48 carries, completed a pass for 11 yards and added three fumble recoveries on defense to carry Stafford to a 14-6 victory over Culpeper in the Virginia AAA Division 5 Northwest Region championship game last night in Stafford.
A week after winning a playoff game for the first time in the school's 50-year history, the Indians (10-2) won their first region championship. And after 33 seasons without a victory against Culpeper (6-6), Stafford defeated the Blue Devils for the second time this season.
Stafford will go on the road to play Central Region champion Hopewell in the AAA Division 5 semifinal next Saturday at 1:30.
Staff writer Preston Williams and special correspondent Sean P. Flynn contributed to this report.