Hylton 27, Osbourn Park 10
Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
No. 12 Osbourn Park had defending Virginia AAA Division 6 Northwestern Region champion Hylton on the ropes in the first half Friday night, but in the end, there was nothing they could do to lasso Bulldogs senior quarterback Jeff Overton.
No. 5 Hylton scored four unanswered touchdowns -- all courtesy of the 5-foot-8, 165-pound Overton -- to pull away for a 27-10 win and a fifth straight region title, setting up a state semifinal next Saturday against Thomas Dale, the team that knocked the Bulldogs out of the state semis last year.
Osbourn Park (10-2), in the region championship for the first time in the school's 27-year history, 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 out.
In the second half, Overton threw for a seven-yard touchdown to senior Maurice Coleman and scored on runs of seven and four yards. He also rushed for three touchdowns the first time the teams met this season, a 49-0 win Sept. 13.
"When they had us down 10-0, no one on our team really panicked," said Overton, who finished with 106 yards and guided the offense to 19 first downs. "When you panic, that's when everybody starts to mess up."
Hylton outrushed the Yellow Jackets 271-93 and converted on seven of eight third downs in the second half to improve to 12-0 all-time in the series.
That streak was in jeopardy, however, after two blunders in the first half. Osbourn Park junior Robert Castillo recovered a fumbled punt at the Hylton 11-yard line, a turnover that eventually yielded a 23-yard field goal by junior Andrew Dykstra, the Yellow Jackets' first field goal of the season.
Osbourn Park senior Brent Alden pounced on the second muffed punt, this one at the Osbourn Park 46-yard line. Senior Roland Hilliard picked up 49 yards on five rushes, and soon after, senior quarterback Doug Suliga surged in from two yards out for a 10-0 lead.
In the second half, Hylton got a special teams break of its own when Bulldogs junior James Salazar, who had dropped one of the punts in the first half, recovered a rolling kickoff that the Yellow Jackets failed to pick up, setting up another Overton score to give Hylton a 20-10 advantage.
"I never get upset when I see Jeff tuck the ball and run," Hylton Coach Lou Sorrentino said. "A lot of that stuff can be a lousy play call that he makes a big play out of. That's why we try to keep the ball in his hands."