Prince William News
This is not the way Battlefield and Stonewall Jackson anticipated their seasons ending.
Bobcats, Raiders fall in regional semifinals
© Gainesville Times
Both varsity football teams lost during the semifinals of the Northwest Region tournament, bringing an end to 2012 football in western Prince William County.
Stonewall's near-perfect season came as a complete heartbreaker as the Raiders fell for only the second time all season, by a 31-30 margin after Colonial Forge's Troy Washington blocked an extra point attempt with no time left on the clock.
Both teams alternated scores through the first two quarters, resulting in 17-17 tie at halftime.
That score held until the fourth quarter when the Cedar Run District offensive player of the year, Greg Stroman , ran 43 yards for his third rushing touchdown of the game.
Colonial Forge answered with a touchdown pass one minute later and another score just before the 1 minute mark on a four-yard rush.
Then, Stonewall seemed to have forced overtime on an electrifying drive that ended in a four-yard touchdown pass from Stroman to Reuben Osei. But moments later, Colonial Forge's Washington ended it all by barrelling his way from the outside line and taking out the ensuing kick.
At the same time in Woodbridge, Hylton defeated Battlefield in the playoffs for the first time in three tries during the last three years, holding off the Bobcats in a 20-7 effort.
"They've been playing us for many years and they knew they had to win this game," Battlefield running back Austin Thibodeaux said of Hylton.
Hylton used its pass rush defense to its advantage with "different kinds of blitzes and schemes," according to quarterback Ryan Swingle as he explained his sacks.
The Bulldogs performed just as well on defense as they did on offense, picking off Battlefield twice, including during an attempted fourth quarter comeback that effectively sealed the win for Hylton.
Up front, Hylton sacks put Swingle's rushing total at minus 12 yards for the day despite a four-yard run in the third quarter that set up running back Austin Thibodeaux's one-yard touchdown.
Swingle explained that the Bulldogs' front line used stunt moves like setting picks for each other that limited Battlefield's mobility up front.
Meanwhile, Hylton quarterback Travon McMillian caused numerous problems for Battlefield, too, both as a rusher and a passer.
On the ground, he broke open a scoreless game with 7:27 to go in the first quarter with a 21-yard run to pay dirt to establish a 6-0 advantage (Battlefield blocked the extra point).
That score held steady until the 6:53 mark of the second quarter when McMillian lobbed a 57-yard bomb to junior wide receiver Terrin Allen for another touchdown, this time coupled with a successful extra point by senior kicker Xavier Mensah.
In all, Hylton nearly quadrupled Battlefield's rushing output of 52 total yards. That forced Swingle to drop back for 27 passes, 12 of which went incomplete.
On the day, the BHS quarterback completed 15 passes for 236 yards, 59 of which came on a single pass completion to sophomore Corey Parker in the third quarter.
However, the two interceptions took away any chance for him to put up numbers on the scoreboard through the air.
"We just wanted to get the run game going," said Swingle.
Thibodeaux scored after Swingle's connection with Parker that put the Battlefield offense inside the Bulldogs' 10-yard-line.
A quick rush by the quarterback on what looked like a pass play led to the senior Thibodeaux running behind his classmates Nick Newman and Blaine Varley for the score.
"I saw it, took the chance, lowered my shoulder and I just punched it in there," said Thibodeaux.
"We pride ourselves on getting the short yardage," added Swingle.
The touchdown provided Battlefield with a bit of momentum as the Bobcats' defense kept Hylton off the board during the ensuing drive.
With less than a minute to go in the quarter though, McMillian finally responded.
From just inside his team's side of the 50-yard-line, the senior speedster took off down field after faking on a play-action pass and broke through the Bobcats' secondary to reach the goal-line for his second time in the game.
Even with another missed extra point, the Bulldogs made the game a two-possession affair again, a hill too steep for Battlefield to climb during the remaining 12 minutes.
"They were really excited. They brought a lot of momentum and stuff," said Thibodeaux of Hylton's approach to the game.