While the Centreville players and coaches gathered on their home turf Saturday, swarming the newly minted banner given to commemorate their Virginia 6A North region title following a 35-14 win against Westfield, a handful of players began singing the Motown classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
The 1967 Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell hit single came well before their time, but for this team, the song was perfect.
Soon the entire team was crooning the chorus, continuing a tradition that dates from the locker room following the first win this season.
“That was the first song that came on when we turned on some music after our first game and we’ve been playing it ever since,” Wildcats senior quarterback Scott Walter said after recording 195 total yards and three touchdowns. “We all knew it from the movie ‘Remember The Titans’ and we hope to ride it to the championship just like they did.”
The second-ranked Wildcats (14-0) will have their shot next Saturday, when they travel to the University of Virginia’s Scott Stadium to face Oscar Smith, a 17-0 winner against Colonial Forge in the other state semifinal.
The Tigers beat Centreville in the 2011 state final, 47-21.
Saturday’s contest brought another familiar foe in Concorde District rival No. 6 Westfield (11-3). The Bulldogs were without standout running back Tyler Thrasher-Walker (left knee injury), and the offense struggled as a result, recording just two first downs in the first half.
Following touchdowns by Walter and Boose, it appeared Centreville was headed for its second shutout of the season against Westfield. But Devon Burns sparked the Bulldogs with a diving 24-yard catch on fourth down just before halftime, setting up an Evan Gray one-yard touchdown that cut the deficit to 14-7.
Centreville faced its own fourth-down decision on the second half’s opening drive. In need of one yard, Walter gave the Wildcats 25 on a long touchdown run down the right sideline to extend the lead.
Despite star wide receiver-defensive back Charles Tutt missing most of the second half with a muscle spasm in his leg, Walter and the Wildcats were able to keep rolling behind the speedy Turner. The junior running back took a screen pass 45 yards for a touchdown before sealing Centreville’s second region title in three years with a nine-yard touchdown run and late interception.
“This team is built off of good chemistry and with all of us having played freshman football and coming through the system, we know how to jell in tough games,” Turner said. “This win feels great right now, but it will wear off in a few hours and then it’s back to work for our main goal — the state title.”