For years, Osbourn football coaches would have to grasp for a way to keep their players interested late in the season, with no chance whatsoever at qualifying for the playoffs.

This year, with the Eagles (8-1) ensured of their first postseason berth since 1992, the concern is not sustaining interest but sustaining focus, with a Virginia AAA Division 6 Northwestern Region semifinal awaiting the team next week.

Osbourn needed nine unanswered points in the fourth quarter last week to emerge with a 30-26 win at Culpeper (2-7). Half the team's wins have come by a total of 17 points. But keeping the players interested is no problem.

"The kids about a week or two ago were saying this time last year they didn't even feel like coming out and practicing, and now they're coming out and enjoying it and having fun," said Eagles Coach Steve Schultze, a 1980 Osbourn graduate.

"It's a pretty good feeling. It's been a battle to get this program and these kids and this community to believe we're a winning program, and for it to finally happen and to win the Cedar Run [District] is really special."

-- Preston Williams