Centreville High School's hopes for a state title were dashed Saturday, as the Oscar Smith Tigers defeated the Wildcats at the Virginia AAA division six final, 47-21.
It was a difficult game for the Wildcats, who started off well, but struggled to overcome some enormous obstacles over the course of the game. The game had hardly started when Centreville scored two points off a snap from Oscar Smith's center, Keeland Jennette, that went through the back of the end zone. But things went south for the Cats early in the first quarter, when senior Ken Ekanem sustained a knee injury and was taken out of the game.
With Ekanem on the sideline, the Wildcats had a huge hole in their offensive and defensive strategies, and struggled for the remainder of the game.
"When you lose the best player in the state of Virginia, that's a huge impact. We'll never really know, but he plays on both sides of the ball, and he's one of the best football players in the country, and not having him certainly hurt," head coach Chris Haddock said after the game.
The Wildcats seemed to regain some confidence in the second quarter, scoring a touchdown with a pass from senior quarterback Mitch Ferrick to Chase Walter. By halftime, Oscar Smith still led 21-9, and continued to dominate in the third and fourth quarters.
With just under two minutes left in the game, the Tigers scored to reach 47, a 32-point lead. But Connor Coward answered that with a 13-yard run, which brought the score up to 21 for the Cats, with 27 seconds left in the game.
Many of fans stayed until well after the game to cheer on the Wildcats (13-2), as the announcer called out their names one by one. "They're the best I've ever seen," Haddock said, expressing his gratitude to the fans. "They're phenomenal, and I'm really, really proud that I'm a part of all this."