If anyone told Osbourn Park’s players they already had earned a state tournament berth before Thursday’s 6A South region final, the Yellow Jackets didn’t listen.
If someone mentioned it already had beaten its opponent, Battlefield, once this year for the conference championship, Osbourn Park didn’t seem to hear that either.
In Haymarket on Thursday, visiting Osbourn Park played as if it had everything at stake in an 11-6 win that gave it the 6A South region championship and the South’s top seed in the 6A state tournament next week.
Yellow Jackets seniors Kyle Weinburg, Tyler Cody and Jake Yezzi all pointed to the team’s heart, hustle and conditioning as keys to the victory. Osbourn Park’s exuberance frustrated Battlefield from the opening faceoff.
The Yellow Jackets (13-4), who are in the midst of the program’s deepest playoff run, “just outran them,” as Yezzi put it. They pressured the Bobcats (12-7) all over the field, never letting them settle on offense, while showing patience on their own attack.
Buoyed by memories of last year’s season-ending defeat to the Bobcats, Osbourn Park flooded Battlefield with goals in a first-quarter deluge. Five minutes in, sophomore Kyle Gunther had put the Yellow Jackets up 2-0. Ten minutes in, that lead was up to six.
“I knew we could take that kind of lead, but that was kind of shocking,” Cody said. “Everything just clicked.”
On the choppy turf at Battlefield, the Yellow Jackets’ defensive pressure caused a sloppy next two quarters
Though Battlefield hung around, overcoming its sloppiness and capitalizing on some late complacency by Osbourn Park, the Yellow Jackets never had much reason to doubt they would be 6A South champions.
Even if their season wasn’t at stake, another trophy was plenty to play for.
“We’d never beaten Battlefield on their home field before this year, and we’d never been in a region final,” Weinburg said. “This really meant a lot to us.”
Osbourn Park will face the loser of Friday’s 6A North final between Langley and Robinson, while Battlefield will take on the winner.
Loudoun County won the Virginia 5A North title with a 13-9 decision over Loudoun Valley in a game played at Tuscarora.
Sean Rogers led the Raiders with five goals and two assists, and a strong performance from Drew Mason on the draw steadied Loudoun County throughout the game.
The Raiders will host Western Albemarle in one 5A state semifinal, while the Vikings will travel to Charlottesville to play Albemarle, which beat its neighborhood rival, 11-9, on Thursday to win the 5A South region.