The Hylton Bulldogs already had a state playoff spot in hand when they took the field against T.C. Williams in the Class 6 Region C title match.
Their finalist status ensured that their season wouldn’t end that evening. But Hylton still played like a team on the edge of the offseason, pushing forward on offense and showing a sense of urgency in attack. They took a one-goal lead into the second half and then added two more to seal what would be a 3-1 victory.
“The biggest thing for them is they wanted home field [in the state quarterfinals],” Coach Brandon Walker said. “We’re undefeated at home. They dug deep to get what they wanted.”
It was the team’s first title since 2001 and the culmination of a strong bounce-back effort after the team fell to Freedom-Woodbridge in the Cardinal District semifinals. It was the program’s second loss of the year after it had carried an undefeated record deep into the spring. But the Bulldogs have rebounded from their stumble and seem poised to make noise in the state playoffs.
“I would’ve preferred to lose then to now,” said junior forward Jared DuBose, who scored a goal against T.C. Williams. “Losing makes us realize we can’t things for granted. The loss taught us a lot.”
In the other local Class 6 final, Carter Berg’s goal was the difference in South Lakes’ 1-0 win over Madison for the region D championship. The Seahawks have won 12 straight.
Briar Woods has an even longer winning streak, as the undefeated Falcons won the 5C region title with a 4-2 win over Freedom-South Riding in penalty kicks. Wes Anderson scored both of his team’s goals in regulation, but the game was still tied after four overtimes. Keeper Alex Lowe helped them to a victory with a save in the shootout.
At the Class 4 level, Park View shut out Loudoun Valley, 4-0, to win the Region C championship. The teams had just faced each other in Dulles District final a week earlier, but that game had ended in a tie after a serious collision between two players.
In Class 2, George Mason beat R.E. Lee in the Region B championship game. The Mustangs are vying for an 11th state title.
1. Briar Woods (22-0-0) LR: 1
The Falcons will face Mountain View in the Class 5 quarterfinals.
2. South Lakes (19-1-0) LR: 2
The Seahawks will face T.C. Williams in the Class 6 quarterfinals.
3. Hylton (18-2-0) LR: 5
The Bulldogs bounced back from a district title loss with three straight wins and a region championship.
4. T.C. Williams (15-3-1) LR: 3
The Titans fell to Hylton in the 6C region final, their first loss since April.
5. Madison (14-2-2) LR: 4
The Warhawks must overcome red-hot Hylton on Tuesday to stay alive in the Virginia Class 6 playoffs.
6. Park View (14-4-1) LR: 10
The Patriots will face Blacksburg in the Class 4 quarterfinals.
7. George Mason (19-1-1) LR: 8
The Mustangs will face Poquoson in the Class 2 quarterfinals.
8. Loudoun Valley (13-3-3) LR: 9
The Vikings will face Charlottesville in the Class 4 quarterfinals.
9. Freedom-South Riding (14-6-2) LR: NR
After falling in the 5C region championship game, the Eagles will face Massaponax in the state quarterfinals.
10. W.T. Woodson (9-5-3) LR: 6
The Cavaliers fell to Hylton in the Class 6 Region C semifinals.
Dropped out: No. 7 Robinson (12-3-3)
On the bubble: Robinson, Battlefield, Lee