“It’s just hard,” he said. “Any playoff game is hard to win. And that’s a good team over there.”
The strong opponent this year was Madison, a consistent contender in Northern Virginia. On Friday night, the Patriots shut the Warhawks down, scoring a 25-10 win in the Class 6 Region D semifinals for their second victory of the postseason.
The Patriots, who went on the road and never trailed, secured that third playoff game; they will face Westfield, another traditional power, in next week’s region final.
The key sequence Friday came late in the third quarter. Madison quarterback Ry Yates had just scored to bring the Warhawks within 12-10, and it seemed momentum was shifting to the home team. Facing fourth and four, Yorktown quarterback Grant Wilson stood tall in the pocket and didn’t hesitate when he saw wide receiver Max Patterson streaking down the sideline.
All game, Wilson and the Patriots (11-1) chipped away at the defense of Madison (8-4) with quick passes; the longest pass of the first half was a 25-yard strike from Wilson to Patterson for a touchdown. Everything else was in the flat or for short yardage.
It was all leading up to a game-changing play.
“They kept biting up, biting up,” Wilson said. “And we knew what we were going to do from practice; we just had to execute. It was just about getting over top of them.”
On this play, Wilson hit Patterson in stride for a 45-yard score, putting Yorktown ahead 19-10. The Patriots then forced a turnover on downs, and at the start of the fourth quarter, running back Pius Atubire punched it in for a one-yard score.
“Everybody puts in a complete effort during the week — players and coaches,” Wilson said. “So it’s awesome to see it executed.”
Despite having a better record, Yorktown had to travel to Madison because of the latter’s strength of schedule. When asked whether he feels as if his team has been underestimated, Wilson did not hesitate.
“I think we’re underestimated, and I think we like that role,” he said. “I think we like being doubted so we can go out there every Friday night and prove that we’re a different team than what people think.”