Fairfax High School football head coach Chris Haddock hopes the 2009 Rebels varsity football team isn't dwelling too much on its 19-14 playoff loss to Lake Braddock Secondary School on Nov. 14.
In fact, Haddock believes that the teams' appearance in the Virginia Division 6 AAA playoffs is just one more step in rebuilding the storied Fairfax program.
"For the first time in a long time, we felt like we could play with anyone," Haddock said. "We took a major step forward for our program."
The Rebels started the season with a 2-4 four start, but four consecutive wins pushed Fairfax into the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
"We didn't back into the playoffs," Haddock said. "We earned our spot. We fought for it."
When the Rebels drew No. 3 seeded Lake Braddock in the first round, some, including the Lake Braddock players, considered the Rebels to be an easy first round victory for the powerful Bruins' team.
But Fairfax proved to be anything but a pushover by shutting down the Bruins' potent passing game and being one of two teams this season to limit the Bruins to less than 20 points in a game.
"We fought hard against Lake Braddock," Haddock said. "Maybe if one thing had gone this way, or we did something else, we would have won. But I'm proud of the team."
Standouts for the Rebels against Lake Braddock include running back Anton Burns, who ran for 55 yards, and quarterback Jack Bechert, who rushed for 28 yards and a touchdown and threw for 30 yards.
Lake Braddock had previously met Fairfax during a pre-season scrimmage, a game they won 42-7, but Haddock said his players' maturity showed in the playoff match-up.
"We're a completely different team than who were when we scrimmaged [Lake Braddock]," Haddock said. "This season and that game were the product of a lot of hard work by our kids."
With the football season over for Fairfax, Haddock took a moment to reflect on his team's transformative season.
"I'm going to remember how many kids stepped up and worked hard for this program," he said. "This was just a great year for our team and I'm excited about the future."