Centreville 27, Herndon 20

After Centreville allowed Herndon to score consecutive second-half touchdowns and seize control early in the fourth quarter last night, it appeared the Wildcats' postseason aspirations were about to be extinguished.

But as the Hornets and a packed grandstand in Herndon found out, Centreville is never really out of a game thanks to the strong arm of quarterback Drew Dudzik and the sure hands of wide receiver Cam Dohse. The juniors turned the critical Virginia AAA Concorde District contest into a game of catch, connecting twice on long touchdown pass plays in the final 11 minutes to lift the Wildcats to a 27-20 victory in a game they simply had to win.

Centreville (6-3, 1-2) kept alive its hopes of earning a Northern Region Division 6 at-large playoff berth, and barring any major upsets in the final week, the Wildcats' chances look good. A loss would have eliminated them from contention. Herndon (6-3, 1-2) and its playoff hopes took a hit.

"Dudzik, Dohse and the defense did it for us tonight," Centreville Coach Mike Skinner said. "When the game is on the line, you have to put the ball in Dohse's hands, and let Dudzik throw it."

Herndon took a 20-13 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 32-yard pass from Seth Martin to Daniel Chevalier. But on the Centreville's next play, Dudzik (14-of-23 passing for 250 yards and four touchdowns) tossed a perfectly placed pass down the sideline and over the shoulder for Dohse, who hauled it in for a 75-yard score, tying the game at 20. Dohse finished with 11 receptions for a career best 239 yards and three touchdowns.

Then after Centreville's defense -- led by linebacker Cortez Brown and linemen Andrew Lewis and Colin Miller -- held Herndon, Dudzik found Dohse again, this time for 39-yard touchdown pass to give Centreville a 27-20 lead it would not relinquish.

"I knew Cam was going to be there," Dudzik said, referring to the 75-yarder. "We kind of knew we had to make a play there."

Both teams capitalized on early mistakes. Centreville's Darryl Hamilton recovered a fumble deep in Hornets territory midway though the first quarter, and two plays later, Dudzik threw his first of two first half touchdowns passes, connecting with Dohse on a 20-yard toss to put Centreville ahead 7-0. Later in the half, Dudzik connected with Robbie Humphreys on a five-yard touchdown pass to send the Wildcats into halftime ahead 13-7.

"It's disappointing when you come back, and all they need to do is throw a bomb and get right back into it," Herndon Coach Tommy Meier said. "They made it a two-player game. I mean, it was the same play. They just out-athleted us."

Centreville's Cam Dohse gets the signal he's looking for after catching a pass from Drew Dudzik in the first quarter. The two juniors teamed up for two long touchdown passes in the final 11 minutes.