For a good part of its Northern Region Division 6 quarterfinals playoff game at Centreville Friday night, Nov. 12, the Fairfax High football team stayed right with the talented Wildcats. But down the stretch of the game, Centreville showed why it is one of the region’s top teams by scoring the game’s final 17 points on way to a 24-6 victory.
Centreville will next host cross-town rival Chantilly in a semifinals game Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Five weeks ago, the two Concorde District stalwarts, in perhaps the most exciting game of the Northern Region season, played a double overtime affair won by Centreville, 27-26. In that annual “Sully Bowl” contest between the cross-town rival Wildcats and Chargers, both teams had entered the week seven affair with perfect 6-0 records.
Centreville ultimately went on to conclude the regular season with an 8-2 record before winning its ninth game over Fairfax in the first round of the playoffs. Chantilly went on to go 8-2 during the season as well before defeating Westfield, 7-0, in a playoff meeting last Friday night.
Now, Chantilly and Centreville are set to face off again in what may be one of the more anticipated area games in years.
“We have an extremely tough opponent in Chantilly,” said Centreville head coach Chris Haddock, completing his first season at the helm of the Wildcats. “They will be extra fired up for revenge after our week seven, double overtime thriller. We will have our hands full.”
Last week, Centreville had a difficult task in defeating a tough Fairfax squad that, over the previous three years, had been coached by Haddock before he accepted the Centreville opening this past offseason.
Fairfax’s new head coach, Kevin Simonds, and this year’s Rebels put together a solid 6-4 regular season record and qualified for the postseason for a second straight season.
Simonds, a former Fairfax assistant coach when Haddock was at the helm, had his squad ready to play against a favored Centreville squad that was looking to turn things around following lopsided losses at Westfield and Robinson to wrap up the regular season.
FOLLOWING a scoreless first quarter, Centreville running back Manny Smith (114 yards) scored the lone touchdown of the second quarter on a one-yard run and the Wildcats went into halftime with a 7-0 lead over the visiting Fairfax squad.
Fairfax got onto the scoreboard on a Marcus Bailey two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Bailey went on to rush for 97 yards in the game. The Rebels, following Bailey’s scoring run, did not convert the extra point try and still trailed 7-6.
Centreville scored a touchdown of its own before the third quarter was complete when quarterback Chance Roman (8-of-13, 168 yards) connected with receiver Chase Walter (5 catches, 99 yards) for a 17-yard scoring strike.
So, going into the fourth quarter, Centreville led 14-6. A 24-yard field goal by Centreville kicker Jared Rondeau gave the Wildcats a 17-6 lead. Later, Centreville all but put the game away when Smith scored on an 11-yard run.
“It was a well played game last Friday night,” said Haddock, of his team’s win over Fairfax. “There was only one turnover and few penalties.”
The coach said it was a little uncomfortable meeting his former team in a playoff game.
“It was a little awkward playing my old team, but I felt like it was a good match-up for us,” said Haddock. “We were able to run the ball in the second half and completed some key passes at some critical times that consumed a lot of yards. Both teams played hard and we are very excited to be advancing.”
Simonds, the Fairfax coach, was proud of his team’s outing in the loss.
“I thought we played a heck of a game,” said Simonds. “We did not execute on a couple of things that all year long we had done pretty well on. Against a quality team like Centreville and a coach like Chris Haddock, you can’t make mistakes and expect to be victorious.”
The coach was disappointed with the way the game got away from his team over the last 18 minutes or so.
“It was 7-6 midway through the third quarter,” said Simonds. “We had a chance to win. It really slipped out of our hands at the end when we were pressing to make something happen. Centreville was 8-2 for a reason. They have some great players.”
Simonds was pleased with his team’s season overall and looks forward to his team perhaps going further in the playoffs in 2011.
“We surpassed a lot of expectations,” he said. “I had a great group of seniors for my first year. We played as a football team. I’m very proud of everybody in the program. These guys made it a really good year and I look forward to next year. We had one goal this year, to make it back to the playoffs, and we did that. Next year we want to take the next step.”