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December 14, 2013
6A State Football Championship Blog!
6:40 PM: What a convincing performance put forth this afternoon by the Centreville Wildcats, who rolled to a 35-6 victory over previously undefeated Oscar Smith to cap their first ever undefeated season at 15-0 overall today at the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium in Charlottesville. It's Centreville's first state title in 13 years, and they handed the Tigers their most lopsided playoff defeat since 2003.
Centreville's three rushing threats of QB Scott Walter, RB A.J. Turner and FB Taylor Boose were punishing. Defensively, they were able to harass the Tigers, contain their running game and force turnovers, turning one into a touchdown. Linebacker Chad Wiggins and Xavier Nickens-Yzer, who helped spark the rout with his pick six early in the first quarter to push the lead to double-digits.
6A State Championship Final Stats: (Thanks to the guys at STATVA - - www.statva.com)
Wildcats 35: (15-0 Overall)
Smith Tigers 6: (14-1 Overall)
Key Stats were Time of Possession, where Centreville had a commanding 34:02 to 13:58 advantage. The Wildcats also allowed Oscar Smith to convert only 2 of 9 tries on third/fourth downs. Additionally, the running attack was incredible for one team and not so great for the other. Opponents hadn't been able to turn Oscar Smith all year long, and today the Tigers had a season-high four, all coming at the wrong time. Centreville got it done in the red zone as well.
We'll have More Coverage to come with Rod Johnson and yours truly - - so keep it here all weekend long and all week long on VirginiaPreps.com for a Game Recap and Postgame Sound!
6:25 PM: It is in the books, our second VHSL Football State Championship of the day here at the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium in Charlottesville. Earlier, it was L.C. Bird rallying from 15 down to defeat Briar Woods, 35-28 in the 5A title game. Also hoisting the trophy in a couple of minutes will be the Centreville Wildcats.
6A FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL - - CENTREVILLE 35, OSCAR SMITH 6
We'll have Final Stats, postgame reaction and much more to come - - so you'll want to keep it tuned right here to VirginiaPreps.com!
6:19 PM: The Centreville fans - - who have the Oscar Smith contingency outweighed by at least double, maybe triple on this day full of shivers in Charlottesville - - are ready to erupt with their Wildcats leading the Tigers by a commanding count of 35-6 with 2:13 to play.
On Twitter, Tom Garrett asked me, "When was the last time a team in Virginia beat Oscar Smith like this?" Some quick research work reveals that in the postseason you have to go back to either Salem by a count of 33-7 in the 2006 Eastern Region Championship or Landstown by a margin of 35-6 in the 2003 regional semifinals. That speaks to what Centreville has done today, playing a sensational game on both sides of the ball, forcing turnovers, applying pressure on the QB, rattling the Tigers on offense and using a physical ground attack to their advantage.
Oscar Smith is staring at a fourth down with 1:55 to go and a bad snap results in Centreville taking over with the Wildcats on top 35-6. Coach Chris Haddock simply could not ask for much more from his bunch in the rain and the cold today. Haddock has to be freezing his fanny off as the players just delivered the Gatorade bath to him. He's smiling from ear to ear, though, and doesn't mind considering just how well his team played from start to finish.
6:13 PM: Another Centreville drive ends in a turnover. If this thing were close, the Wildcats would be kicking themselves as they've left at least 14 points out no the field, but it's not, and they lead Oscar Smith 28-6 with 3:04 to play. Keshaan Cuffee with a fumble recovery for the Tigers, but Oscar Smith gives it right back on a turnover. After Andrew Ridenour, the senior linebacker for Centreville, flattens Tigers freshman QB Shon Mitchell on a pass attempt, the Wildcats recover a fumble.
In this pouring rain on a downright brutally cold day, it's understandable that the ninth grader had trouble gripping the ball when he dropped back to pass. Shortly thereafter, Centreville junior A.J. Turner continued his marvelous day with a touchdown run to extend the Wildcats' lead to 29.
2:26 to play - - Centreville 35, Oscar Smith 6
Some might've seen Centreville winning. After all, both teams were undefeated coming in and the Wildcats had won every contest by at least 20 points. No one saw Centreville winning by this wide of a margin against a squad that beat them 47-21 in the State Championship only two years ago.
6:07 PM: To say overpowering might be an understatement. The Centreville Wildcats have almost 300 yards rushing as senior QB Scott Walter, junior RB A.J. Turner (perhaps the Player of the Game with his game-changing speed) and fullback Taylor Boose have been the triple-threat today.
Oscar Smith is able to come up with a crucial red zone takeaway courtesy of sophomore linebacker Tavante Beckett, a name to watch out for in the future. It might be too late. Even if it's not, Centreville answers right back with junior linebacker Xavier Nickens-Yzer notching his second interception of the day. He's shining in a grad way on this rainy December Saturday evening in Charlottesville.
The Wildcats, leading 28-6 with under five minutes to play, can sense that they are minutes away from capturing their first state title since 2000. That year, the team finished 12-2 overall and held off Deep Creek, another Southeastern District school, by a count of 28-26 in the State Championship. This squad will make its place history, looking to achieve the program's first ever undefeated season.
6:00 PM: Just when Oscar Smith thought they might have something going, Centreville is able to burn more clock on third-and-2 from the 27-yard line with QB Scott Walter reading his blocks and maneuvering with his legs for a first down. Coming in, Walter had produced 35 total touchdowns and he's had two of the rushing variety this afternoon to raise his season total to 10 in that department.
Centreville simply looks like seasoned pros in the rain, steadily breaking off chunks of yardage on the ground in various directions - - left, right or up the middle. The latest plow up the middle comes from Walter into Oscar Smith territory as the Wildcats lead it 28-6 with under seven minutes to play.
5:55 PM: Well, there will be no shutout by the Centreville defense, but they've still done a great job, considering they had given up 62 points in the last two games combined. Oscar Smith breaks loose for a touchdown on Shon Mitchell's 25-yard scoring pass to Kamathi Holsey, a senior playing the final game of his career in a Tigers uniform. The PAT is blocked.
11:46 left to play - - Centreville 28, Oscar Smith 6
As long as Centreville doesn't start turning the ball over and doing a poor job of managing the clock, this one is theirs. For three quarters, they've turned in a dominating performance, and in many ways a surprisingly dominant performance.
5:48 PM: Before the end of the third quarter, Oscar Smith recovers a fumble and Hokies commit Jaylen Bradshaw on the future rival field of his here at UVA goes 30 yards on a reverse to put the Tigers at the 25-yard line of Centreville. That's the longest play from scrimmage for this potent Oscar Smith attack that coming into today has scored 40+ points on ten occasions this season.
The Tigers will start the fourth quarter down by 28, hoping to avoid being shutout for the first time since 2002 when they lost to Western Branch 58-0.
End 3rdQ - - Centreville 28, Oscar Smith 0
Needless to say, this has been an awesome defensive performance by Centreville to keep the high-flying Tigers in check.
5:41 PM: Although his team is having a rough afternoon, junior DE Josh Sweat (22 sacks at last check) is showing why he is regarded as one of the top recruits nationally in the Class of 2015 as he unloads on a ball carrier for a monster hit. This Centreville team keeps pounding that rock though and they finish it off on third-and-1 with QB Scott Walter's touchdown run. It's Walter's second of the day.
Not enough can be said about this Centreville offensive line and the job they've done, facing one of the very best defensive lines around. They've truly been superb versus a nationally-ranked Tigers team and are on the verge of pitching a shutout for three quarters of play. Absolutely stunning, no doubt about it . . .
2:24 left 3rdQ - - Centreville 28, Oscar Smith 0
5:35 PM: Oscar Smith has life as sophomore defender Keyvone Bruton intercepts a pass for the Tigers with Centreville driving down the field with its running game breaking off 3-5 yards time after time after time. Can Bruton's INT give the Tigers the jolt they need here in the rain and cold at UVA?
Well, not unless the Oscar Smith offense can get things revved up. A bad snap by the center is recovered by Centreville sophomore defensive end Christian Brooks and the Wildcats have great field position at the 12-yard line of Oscar Smith, leading 21-0 late in the third quarter.
5:30 PM: Things don't get much better at all for Oscar Smith. Trailing 21-0, the Tigers see defensive end Chris White, one of the senior standouts on defense for them who's been plagued by a knee injury the past few weeks, helped off the field. That will make it only harder to stop this Centreville running attack that has been persistent and able to mix it up with runs outside and inside behind the 1-2 junior combo of A.J. Turner and Taylor Boose.
In some ways, it's old smash-mouth style football by the Wildcats as they continue to churn out yards on the ground and now have it at the Oscar Smith 26-yard line, putting together one of their finest drives of the game.
It has been a truly special season for Centreville, and a touchdown to make it 28-0 might put this one out of reach and give them a State Championship.
5:23 PM: It's Oscar Smith ball to start the second half and they trail Centreville 21-0 here in the 6A State Championship. The Tigers start at their own 26-yard line and give it to DeShawn McClease, who picks up four yards. Monty Fenner moves the chains with a gain of seven on a reception from QB Shon Mitchell.
Needing to convert on third-and-11, Oscar Smith does so with Mitchell finding Dashawn Hatten for 22 yards as the senior puts them in Centreville territory. However, it's only briefly as Mitchell gets sacked the next play. That eventually puts Oscar Smith in third-and-15 and a heap of trouble.
Xavier Nickens-Yzer, who had the pick six in the first half, breaks up a pass intended for Jaylen Bradshaw of Oscar Smith on third down. The Tigers have to punt it on fourth-and-15 from the 47-yard line of the Wildcats. Centreville's defense continues to make a stand and the Oscar Smith offense can't generate much at all in these elements vs. the undefeated Wildcats.
5:12 PM: Here are the numbers at the break on this windy, chilly Saturday night in Charlottesville, where the Centreville Wildcats are up by 21 on the Oscar Smith Tigers in a battle of unbeatens in the VHSL Group 6A State Football Championship.
Stats at the Half:
Oscar Smith is a really explosive team and a 21-point deficit to them is not as huge an obstacle to overcome as it would be for most teams. That being said, Centreville has played way more physical than Oscar Smith to this point, playing aggressive up front and Turner has delivered some huge plays in the run game as well as Boose on the fullback traps. Centreville has a decisive Time of Possession advantage of 16:28 to 7:32, and so far the Tigers have been stymied on all three third down tries.
Second half football is coming in just a bit, and much like the L.C. Bird/Briar Woods game earlier today, the team that gets the ball first in the second half MUST score to rally. That'll be Oscar Smith, and they're hoping to do what Bird did, which was rally from 15 points down to beat Briar Woods 35-28 in the 5A State Championship.
5:03 PM: We have reached half-time in this VHSL Group 6A State Football Championship at UVa's Scott Stadium is a one-sided affair . . . and not one that most people saw coming. Oscar Smith, which handled Centreville 47-21 two years ago in the State Championship, trails Centreville by 21 points at the break.
Half - - Centreville 21, Oscar Smith 0
We'll have some half-time statistics momentarily.
4:58 PM: The Centreville Wildcats have scored more points than any other team has on Oscar Smith all season long, and most shockingly they've done it in just one half of football here at frigid UVA's Scott Stadium in Charlottesville. On third-and-1, QB Scott Walter punches in a touchdown from a yard out and extends the lead to 21.
0:44 left 2ndQ - - Centreville 21, Oscar Smith 0
Nobody could've predicted this happening. Not even die-hard Centreville. Oscar Smith will be content to run out the clock as a completed pass before the half loses yardage. The Wildcats are flying to the football with reckless abandon in this first half and have the Tigers a bit shell-shocked.
Previously, the most points allowed this season by Oscar Smith was in a 27-14 win over Western Branch. Seven of those points came in the fourth quarter. Every other opponent except King's Fork, which lost 62-12 to the Tigers (with both touchdowns coming vs. subs), has been held to single-digits.
4:55 PM: Coming out of the time-out, Coach Chris Haddock keeps it simple and lets his QB Scott Walker sneak up the middle to move the chains on fourth-and-1. This Centreville interior offensive line is doing a masterful job to not allow the Tigers' defensive line stars of Andrew Brown, Josh Sweat and company wreck the game.
Their ball-control style out of the Wing-T is working as the Wildcats still have possession with under two minutes in the first half and inside the Oscar Smith 35-yard line. Breaking out of a tackle for a gain of 23 yards is junior A.J. Turner, who's becoming a household name around the state today with what he's doing against this Tigers defense. Turner is up to 98 yards on six carries and you can believe they'll maximize his touches in the second half.
Coach Rich Morgan of Oscar Smith will call a time-out with 1:27 left in the second quarter. His Tigers trail Centreville 14-0, and the Wildcats are trying to make it 21-0 as they are looking at second-and-7 from the 7-yard line.
4:50 PM: Gatorade National Player of the Year and UVA Commit Andrew Brown makes one of his biggest plays in the game with a tackle for no gain, stopping Taylor Boose on the initial hit. But Centreville isn't afraid to mix in the passing game and use one of their backs, A.J. Turner, to do it and he gains eight yards on a quick throw from Scott Walter. It's third-and-2 and that means Boose time, he goes up the middle and is near the first down marker.
In the steady sleet/rain, Oscar Smith has seen their defense on the field much more than their offense. They need the defense to rise to the occasion again on fourth-and-1 from the 37-yard line as Centreville will go for it, but not before Coach Chris Haddck talks it over with his troops in a time-out before the half.
We've got 2:58 left to play in the second quarter and Centreville has Oscar Smith in a 14-0 hole, the largest deficit for the Tigers all year.
4:45 PM: The Centreville defense, which had given up 62 points in two playoff victories combined to South County and Stonewall Jackson, is only seven minutes away from pitching a first half shutout of an Oscar Smith offense that year in and year out is one of the finest in the state when it comes to scoring.
Freshman QB Shon Mitchell has started just 2-for-7 through the air with 11 yards and a pick six, misfiring on third-and-13 as the Centreville defense comes up with another three-and-out. For the most part, this Centreville secondary has done a stellar job with Charles Tutt and A.J. Turner (6INT's), two juniors that cover lots of ground and are rather rangy.
Centreville is looking at third-and-3 from their own 46-yard line here as the clock ticks under 6 minutes to go in the half. They hit the Tigers with the fullback trap play yet again and Taylor Boose slips out of a couple tackles to move the chains into Oscar Smith territory. The loyal, passionate Centreville fans continue to chant, "Boooooose," every time the 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior touches the rock.
4:39 PM: With a somewhat surprising 14-0 lead on Oscar Smith, Centreville is into Oscar Smith territory and over 100 yards rushing already as they continue to attack the Oscar Smith defense with their 1-2 punch of juniors A.J. Turner, the tailback, and Tyler Boose, the fullback. They're running the ball with relative ease against one of the toughest defensive fronts you'll find, and the offensive line has given them enough of a crease to run.
Tigers junior defensive end Josh Sweat, who also has an SEC offer from South Carolina and a bunch of BCS schools after him, unloads on Boose on second down to bring up a critical third-and-7 from the 27-yard line of Oscar Smith. Operating out of their Wing-T, Centreville will go with the QB keeper with Scott Walter and he is brought down by Dior Dawson and Keshaan Cuffee short of the first down. On fourth-and-4, Centreville will look to go for it from the 24-yard line and it's the battle of wills now - - great run offense vs. tough run defense. Centreville goes with the play-action pass and it's incomplete, nearly intercepted by sophomore Keyvone Bruton.
That was a highly important stop by the Oscar Smith defense. Now, can the offense answer the bell and cut the deficit in half before half-time arrives in 8:12?
4:35 PM: Centreville is content to keep it on the ground this first quarter as they attack the Oscar Smith defense, which is extremely stingy against the run, between the tackles. Outside of the 52-yard touchdown scamper by A.J. Turner, they aren't getting a ton of yards, but what they are doing is keeping the Oscar Smith offense on the sidelines watching a good deal. Of their 11 offensive plays in the first quarter, nine were runs for Centreville or 97 yards.
Meanwhile, Oscar Smith gains just 38 yards on 12 plays in the first quarter with only 11 through the air and failed to convert either of their two third down opportunities.
End 1stQ - - Centreville 14, Oscar Smith 0
Is a 14-point lead safe on Oscar Smith? It's tough to say. But the Wildcats have scored at least 28 points in every game that they've played this season and have to be extremely encouraged with how things have gone so far.
4:30 PM: Oscar Smith backs up 15 yards due to a penalty infraction and they are looking at first-and-25 from their own 15-yard line. Definitely not the type of field position Coach Rich Morgan would like. It quickly becomes third-and-20 from their own 20 as a run gains just five and a pass intended for Jaylen Bradshaw is incomplete. Chris Haddock, Head Coach of Centreville, has to love how things are going so far, but a pass interference penalty on third down gives the Tigers a chance to keep possession.
Centreville continues to play tough on defense and gets a stop on third-and-5 as Shon Mitchell's pass is incomplete. The Wildcats are in the process of doing something that hasn't been done all year to Oscar Smith and that is pitch a shutout in the first quarter. They've got the ball back at their own 38-yard line with 43 seconds left in the opening period, and most importantly, hold a 14-point lead.
4:23 PM: It's not a great start for Oscar Smith whatsoever and Centreville, a team that has cruised by 20-plus points in every win this year, is coming out with an aggressive tone on both sides of the ball. On their second possession offensively of the game, the Tigers go three-and-out as Centreville bottles up the Oscar Smith running game led by DeShawn McClease. It's junior defensive end Devante Wright along with the hard-hitting Chad Wiggins at linebacker laying the lumber.
Centreville gets the ball back and can't do a whole lot with it on their second offensive possession as A.J. Turner is met in the backfield two straight plays by defensive tackle Keshaan Cuffee, one of the unsung performers on that Oscar Smith defense up front that had a fumble recovery for a touchdown in last week's shutout of Colonial Forge.
Clearly early on though, Centreville has the Oscar Smith offense unsettled and it'll be interesting to see how they bounce back off the mat with a freshman quarterback against a Centreville team that so far has tackled very solidly to this point.
4:16 PM: Oscar Smith now has it and will start at its own 38-yard line and they go to the air with freshman QB Shon Mitchell completing back-to-back passes to Hokies commit Jaylen Bradshaw, the ladder going for 11 yards near midfield. On second-and-10 a couple plays later, it's junior tailback DeShawn McClease breaking off an 18-yard run. That has the Tigers at the Centreville 31-yard line in great position to tie this one.
Disaster strikes for Oscar Smith and their ninth grader signal caller that has been nothing short of sensational this year as he is not only picked off, but it's returned to the house for a touchdown. Junior Xavier Nickens-Yzer is there to race back 60 yards for the touchdown on the interception. Centreville is off to an electric start against an Oscar Smith team that can strike in a hurry.
7:07 left 1stQ - - Centreville 14, Oscar Smith 0
Also, let's credit linebacker Chad Wiggins, one of the very best defensive players in the state, with the tackle for loss on the play before the INT.
4:05 PM: Centreville will receive the football first and they start at their own 25-yard line, where QB Scott Walter runs nine yards to make it second-and-short for the Wildcats. Coach Haddock has to like that and they move the chains a couple of times behind fullback Taylor Boose, a junior that's running against one of the fiercest defensive lines in the state.
On third-and-2 from their own 48-yard line, Centreville's crowd gets real loud as junior A.J. Turner busts free on a 52-yard touchdown. The Wildcats have a larger contingency in the crowd today than the Oscar Smith Tigers at UVA's Scott Stadium. Just like that we have our first score and it's somewhat a surprising one to many of the folks back at home reading or watching.
9:30 left 1stQ - - Centreville 7, Oscar Smith 0
3:55 PM: Hello friends, fans, followers and everyone out there in Internet land. Welcome to our VHSL Group 6A State Football Championship LIVE BLOG from Scott Stadium at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where it's a battle of undefeated teams as the Oscar Smith Tigers (14-0) tangle with the Centreville Wildcats (14-0). Both teams have been ultra dominant this year, winning every contest by double-digits. It's a re-match of the 2011 AAA Division 6 title game, won by Oscar Smith 47-21.
Oscar Smith is looking to capture its third state title since 2008 and Coach Rich Morgan's team has hung their hat on a relentless defense that has seen its first-team give up only four touchdowns all season long. They are led by Gatorade National Player of the Year and UVA commit Andrew Brown (86 Tackles, 28TFL, 17 Sacks) up front, plus have a host of playmakers on offense with Virginia Tech commit Jaylen Bradshaw at wide receiver, junior running back DeShawn McClease (1528Yds. 28TD's rushing) and freshman QB Shon Mitchell.
Centreville under the direction of Chris Haddock has rallied twice this postseason from deficits against Stonewall Jackson and South County during their run. A.J. Turner (112Car. 1105Yds. 30TD's), a junior, picked up an offer from South Carolina this week. Quarterback Scott Walter (91 of 132 for 1786Yds. 35TD's total, 27 passing) has been steady with his arm and making plays when needed with his feet while not turning the ball over much at all.
Prediction: Oscar Smith 28-14
Matthew Hatfield has covered football and basketball since 2004 for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and don't forget to listen to him every Saturday at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.