After 27 straight victories, Manassas Park finally succumbed under the pressure of Giles's single-wing offense at Saturday's Virginia A Division 2 championship game.
At the end of a thrilling state title game, the defending champion Cougars' area-long winning streak ended with a 35-34 defeat at James Madison University's Bridgeforth Stadium.
The Cougars surrendered 449 total yards to Giles's deceptive attack -- including five touchdown plays of 32 yards or longer -- but stayed close behind with 294 total yards and five touchdowns by quarterback Jay Terrell. But a potentially game-tying extra-point attempt was blocked and a late pass was intercepted to clinch Giles's third state title and first since 1993.
"We got out of position a couple times [against the single wing] and basically, they made one more big play than we made," Manassas Park Coach Jeff Lloyd said. "It hurts right now, the kids are hurting right now, but they've got nothing to be ashamed of. We got beat today by one point. Sometimes it doesn't bounce in your favor, and that's what happened."
Terrell rushed for 125 yards and threw for 160. He had touchdown rushes of 9, 1 and 4 yards, a kickoff return of for a 78-yard touchdown, a 19-yard scoring pass to senior Raphael Rigaud (seven catches, 89 yards) and four extra points. But Terrell's final extra point attempt was blocked, and his last pass was intercepted by Giles sophomore Billy Cook with 1 minute 32 seconds remaining.
"He's a heck of a player," Giles Coach Steve Ragsdale said. "I'm not exactly sure we really stopped him at all today."
The Spartans' single-wing offense gave the Cougars some issues throughout the freezing evening, as the constant misdirection and fake handoffs turned some seemingly benign runs into big plays. The Cougars (13-1) led 7-0 and 14-6 in the first half, but both times Giles -- located near Blacksburg in Pearisburg, Va. -- quickly responded with scores.
Giles senior Ricky Cook rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown, junior Nathan Tanner rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns, and senior Ryne Hevener had 72 yards and a touchdown. And when they needed a big pass, they got it from Ricky Cook, who had 93 passing yards. The Spartans (13-1) were trailing when he completed a 59-yarder to senior Logan Witt that, after a successful two-point conversion, gave the Spartans a 35-28 lead with 5:54 left in the game.
"They've got guys running every direction, and all of a sudden they'd go in the back door," senior linebacker Bucky Griffith said. "I'd turn around and they were in the end zone."
Shortly after Witt's touchdown reception, Terrell responded with a 47-yard pass to Kramer Cadle that set up a Terrell touchdown run. But the ensuing point-after was blocked by Tanner.
Manassas Park got the ball back with 2:10 left in the game, still behind by a point, but the second play from scrimmage was picked off by the leaping linebacker Billy Cook. Giles ran out the clock for the win.