It was a cold, blustery day on the frozen tundra of western Fairfax, where the Westfield Bulldogs faced the Oakton Cougars in the Division VI regional footbal championship.
Westfield, undefeated and the top-ranked team in Virginia, was the heavy favorite today. They got the ball first and rushed down the field behind senior back Dalaun Richardson, before being stopped on downs. No matter. The Bulldogs appeared in control of the game, and it was only a matter of time before they scored first.
Or not. The Cougars got in a second quarter groove behind their running quarterback, Kyle Downer. After establishing the run, he hit a pass down the middle to senior receiver Andy Boone for the first score. Westfield struck back quickly with a long kick return, then a 30 yard run by Richardson. 7-7.
The second half was dominated by the Cougars’ spread option offense which continually opened holes for Downer and senior tailback Mike Wandey, with occasional misdirections to Boone. The Dogs never figured it out. And their defense got tired as the Oakton offense controlled the ball for the final three quarters.
On defense, the Cougars ran to the ball and hit hard, jarring loose the ball at least three times in the second half. The defenders were led (as best I could tell) by the Allely brothers, Joe and David, as well as linebacker Bobby Lam and cornerback Chris Larkin.
The Cougars took command in the third quarter on a short scramble by Downer, then a corner route to Boone. They missed an extra point but added a field goal to take a 23-7 lead late in the fourth. Westfield never gave up. They tacked on nine late points to close the gap, but the game was never in doubt.
Congratulations to the players, fans and coaches of both teams for a great season and a great game played.
Next game: state semifinals against L.C. Bird (of Richmond) at Oakton.