The Centreville Wildcat varsity football team (13-1) has reached the coveted Virginia AAA State Championship game after squeezing out a 10-9 victory over Hermitage in the semifinal on Dec. 3. Head Coach Chris Haddock and his Wildcats will travel to Charlottesville this Saturday, Dec. 10 to face Oscar Smith High (13-1), who defeated the 2010 State Champion Battlefield Bobcats last Friday to qualify for the title game.
“Our team, school and community are very excited. The town traveling to Richmond last week was phenomenal,” said Haddock regarding the support from the Centreville community. “I know people are excited to go to Charlottesville this weekend. I’m real proud of our kids.”
Centreville, whose offense puts up 35-points per game, comes in ranked No.1 in the state fresh off a five-game win streak. The Oscar Smith Tigers (Chesapeake) follow just behind the Wildcats at No.2 and average 33-points per game on offense.
“They’re on a 13-game roll and are playing really good football. They score early and often.” Haddock said. “We’re definitely going to have our hands full. But we do hope to pound and grind the ball.”
The second-year Wildcat coach will count on his quarterback, Mitch Ferrick, to grind his team past a stellar Tiger defense who has allowed just 15-points per game. But Ferrick has shown true poise against the rush and has blazed his way to stardom in 2011, throwing 19TDs against only three interceptions. Ferrick made Second-Team All Concorde in just his first year as a starter this season.
“We’ve been very fortunate that we have some talented kids,” Haddock said regarding the performance from his players this year. “They work really hard, listen to the coaches and play with passion and pride. They’ve really done a great job.”
Meanwhile Manny Smith, who has racked up 1,718 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns on the season, will attempt to knife his way through the Tigers’ front-seven. Smith and four other Wildcats: Ken Ekanem, Chase Walter, Connor Coward and Matt Vlissides were voted onto the First-Team All Region.
Ekanem also won the Northern Region Defensive Player of the Year Award this season. Unfortunately, the all-star defensive end and his teammates will have to stave-off Oscar Smith’s high-scoring offense without one its best players. Senior linebacker Travis Whitney has been sidelined for the championship game after suffering an injury in the state-semifinal against Hermitage.
Oscar Smith’s eighth-year head coach Richard Morgan boasts an outstanding overall record of 97-10, since taking the Tiger helm in 2004. Haddock also holds an exemplary record of 22-4 through two seasons as Centreville’s head coach. Haddock said he has been grateful for the special rapport the team and coaching staff has shared this year.
“There are few schools in the Northern Region where you can have this kind of success and Centreville is one of them,” Haddock said. “Our kids were willing to listen, accept coaching and try some things. I give our kids all the credit. They set lofty goals, high expectations and have worked very hard to achieve those things and we’re almost there.”
Centreville plays Oscar Smith at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville at 4 p.m. on Dec. 10. Fans are asked to wear black for a "blackout."