Westfield senior Chris Mullins ran into Lake Braddock junior Caleb Henderson at a quarterback camp in New York this summer, and the two Virginia AAA Northern Region starters became friends, pairing up and working out together the whole weekend.
On Friday night, Mullins and Henderson met on the field for the first time since the camp. And while Henderson has received the lion’s share of the accolades and recruiting attention, it was Mullins who took the prize on the field, leading the No. 11 Bulldogs to a 49-29 nondistrict win in Burke.
There was no argument that Henderson lived up to the hype surrounding him; the junior threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for one more. But Mullins tossed his way into the spotlight and then took it for himself, completing 11 of 17 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for two more scores.
“That’s a great game by Chris,” said Westfield running back Dalaun Richardson, who also rushed for two touchdowns. “I’ve never seen that before. I’m glad he’s on our team.”
It was Mullins’s early consistency — he completed his first seven passes with two touchdowns — that allowed Westfield to open up a 28-point lead in the second quarter. The Bulldogs (3-0) showed their balance early, throwing on the first four plays of the game before rushing behind Richardson on the next five. Mullins’s only mistake was an interception on a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.
Lake Braddock (1-2) pulled to within 20 points at the half on Henderson’s 29-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Alexander and two-point conversion throw. But his first touchdown pass was perhaps the play of the half.
Henderson, who has scholarship offers from Maryland, Illinois, Michigan State, Virginia and Virginia Tech, dropped back and found no receivers. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound passer then rolled to his right, reset and threw a strike down the right sideline into the end zone to Aaron Hollins, just before getting blindsided by a pass rusher.
The Bruins pulled within two scores on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Henderson with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, but Westfield responded with a quick scoring drive to stay out in front.
“It’s Westfield football, we’ve got a great program,” Mullins said. “Lost a lot of great players, a lot of new faces, but still, Westfield’s got a bunch of athletes. It’s a big school.”