W.T. Woodson senior Jackson Miller was knocked to the turf but quickly picked himself off it without losing possession. Then Miller, a senior attackman, shot and scored a goal that left him motioning toward himself in celebration.
He was asking his teammates to rush over. He was asking the crowd for more noise. He was asking for a Virginia 6A state title, and soon that’s exactly what he got.
“I don’t really have any words,” Miller said moments after his team beat South County late Saturday morning. “Right now, I just can’t stop smiling.”
Before W.T. Woodson edged South County, 11-9, it had to endure a roaring comeback by the Stallions (18-6) at Robinson Secondary School.
Miller’s goal gave the Cavaliers a six-goal advantage after three quarters, but South County netted four goals in the first 2:26 of the fourth to trim the gap to two.
But W.T. Woodson already had built a lead significant enough to stand up to the Stallions’ surge, thanks in large part to Miller and junior midfielder Bobby Solomon.
Miller finished with four goals and two assists for a game-high six points. Solomon added three goals and two assists. That was complemented by a defense that, for at least three quarters, shrunk South County’s space with quick slides and reaching sticks. That was enough to lead the Cavaliers, who scored just once in the fourth quarter, to a state championship.
“It’s just all these guys,” Solomon said. “It’s a combination of what we worked for all year, our offense, our defense, our goalie. That’s what it takes. Everyone had a part, and I think some of us just can’t believe this is happening.”
It felt like an unreachable goal after W.T. Woodson (18-6) lost to Briar Woods by 14 goals on April 20.
The Cavaliers thought they were good enough to win it all last season — before falling to Madison in the playoffs — and had some doubts that this team had what it took.
But that was followed by six consecutive wins that built momentum and belief heading into the state playoffs. That seeped into Saturday, when the Cavaliers erased an early two-goal hole to take control. Either Miller or Solomon — or both — was involved in seven of W.T. Woodson’s 11 goals.
As the clock wound down in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers tossed their equipment into the air and ran toward each other. But a referee blew the play dead, five seconds went back on the clock, and the players peeled their sticks and helmets off the turf with big smiles.
Then play started again, the five seconds trickled off, and a state title was firmly theirs.
“We had to wait a few extra seconds there,” Solomon said, smirking. “But it was worth it. Totally worth it.”