Of all the congratulatory texts that streamed into Centreville Coach Chris Haddock’s phone following Saturday’s 35-6 win against Oscar Smith in the Virginia 6A state football championship, one particularly stood out.
“A teacher texted me and said that Disney had called about us because our season was one that would be perfect for the movies,” Haddock said. “And I guess it was a storybook season in a way, with all the cast of players and stories we had, the great community and fans behind us and just how all those factors came together in making us champions. It’s special.”
Centreville’s script included unrivaled success with a school-record 15 wins, resilience after overcoming a 21-point deficit in the second round of the playoffs, heroes on and off the field in All-Met players and inspiring defensive lineman Isaac Samuel, retribution in avenging a 2011 championship loss to Oscar Smith and finally triumph. After winning its second state title, the Wildcats finish the season atop the final Post Top 20 football rankings.
The season began with lofty expectations as 18 starters returned hungry for redemption after a second-round playoff upset ended their 2012 season. On offense, the Wildcats had a plethora of playmakers, including All-Met junior A.J. Turner (1,697 total yards and 32 touchdowns) and senior quarterback Scott Walter, who helped the team average 45.3 points per game.
Defensively, Turner joined fellow all-region junior defensive back Charles Tutt and All-Met senior linebacker Chad Wiggins (17 sacks) to keep opponents at bay, compiling an average margin of victory of 34.1 points during their undefeated run.
“It’s great when you have some home run hitters and a great staff of coaches that work hard to scheme each week,” said Haddock, who took over as Centreville’s coach in 2010. “Our kids had goals and were determined to have a special season, so we set our expectations high.”
Those expectations will be just as high in 2014. The Wildcats return 15 starters and a handful of experienced players for their 2014 title defense. But gone will be the leadership of Walter and Wiggins along with the unsung play of others such as offensive linemen Brandon King and Josh Smith, who helped lock down Gatorade national player of the year Andrew Brown in Saturday’s win.
“Sure, I’m excited about the position we’ll be starting in next season, and it’s nice to be able to raise the expectation level year in and year out,” Haddock said. “I’m sure we’ll have key guys step up and fill the holes we have, but they aren’t small holes to fill. For now, though, we’ll enjoy this feeling a little while longer.”