There was a moment on Friday night where Centreville didn’t seem so invincible. The mighty Wildcats trailed Robinson 7-0 after giving up an easy 3-play, 41-yard opening drive, and their offense followed that up with a punt after going 3-and-out. Could a quality Robinson side be exposing previously unseen vulnerabilities in the area’s top-ranked team heading into the playoffs?
Centreville’s defense used numbers to answer that question. After that opening drive, the Wildcat D forced three turnovers, surrendered one first-down and gave up zero points. They held Robinson senior Joe Wilson to 28 yards on the nine carries he had after that initial scoring drive, and they limited Ayvn Johnson to 27 yards on eight carries. Robinson quarterback Jack Rowlett completed two of his eight passes for 16 yards and an interception.
Yet the most important numbers to come from Friday’s regular season finale were these: 45-9. Centreville’s tenth lopsided result in a row secured the Wildcats’ first undefeated regular season since 2001. It also wrapped up Centreville’s first Concorde title since 2001, ending Westfield’s two-year hold over that claim.
“It’s been a nice building process since I’ve been here, but the kids really do what we ask,” said Chris Haddock, Centreville’s head coach since 2010. “They play really hard, and they play with a tough attitude. We’ve got great fan support, great community support. All those folks deserve this. I’m happy for those people. It’s been a long time, and it’s good to bring it back home.”
Had the Wildcats (10-0, 5-0 Concorde) lost to Robinson (7-3, 3-2) Friday night, the conference title would have gone to the Rams, who would have won the head-to-head tiebreaker after finishing the season with the same conference record as Centreville. Instead, Friday’s result was just the latest beatdown capping the most dominant regular season in Centreville’s history. The Wildcats haven’t won a game by fewer than 21 points this year, their average margin of victory currently standing at 38.1 heading into this Friday’s first-round playoff game against South Lakes. And it could be even worse: Having outscored the opposition 370-40 in the first half of games this season, Centreville has fallen into the habit of emptying its bench in the second half, meaning its starters have yet to play a full game.
Perhaps Robinson should have known not to get too excited after scoring that first touchdown Friday, as Centreville’s defense seems to thrive on lulling opponents into a false sense of comfort before pouncing without mercy. They gave up the opening touchdown of their 44-7 win against Hayfield, and they were victim to an early score during their 53-7 victory over Washington-Lee.
“We just made a couple of adjustments,” Haddock said Friday. “Part of it was our fault; part was that Robinson has a good offense. We just buckled down. These kids don’t like being scored on, and that’s a good attribute to have.”
Highlighting the Centreville defense’s resurgence was Charles Tutt. The junior corner made a leaping interception on a Rowlett deep ball toward the end zone to start the second quarter, then broke up a pass intended for Wilson in the end zone to preserve the Wildcats’ 24-9 halftime lead.
“We’re physical, we’re fast, we’ve got a lot of speed. We’ve got a lot of athletes,” Tutt said. “Last year we had a lot of athletes, but we kind of slacked in chemistry and maturity. This year we just win as a team.”
Tutt didn’t just thrive on defense last Friday; he let his versatility shine all over the field. The shifty playmaker hauled in four catches for 60 yards, his most spectacular coming early in the third quarter. On that play, junior tailback AJ Turner took a pitch at midfield and suddenly chucked up a prayer downfield into triple coverage. Tutt out-jumped his defender to make the grab, then skirted around the other two guys to extend his team’s lead to 30-9. The lead stretched to 37-9 just a few plays later, when Tutt took a 55-yard punt return to the house.
“He’s got that ability,” Haddock said. “He can do that on offense, on defense and on special teams. It’s been one of those seasons where you try to take away 23, No. 2 has a good game. You try to take away No. 2, No. 5 has a good game. You take away 5 and 4 has a good game. So we’ve been pretty fortunate that we’ve had a lot of different guys contribute.”
The regular season now behind them, Centreville must now focus on a 16-team tournament that begins Friday against South Lakes (5-5, 3-4 Liberty). After defeating West Potomac 28-11 in last year’s first round, the Wildcats fell at home to eventual champion Oakton 14-13 on a last-second quarterback sneak. If their current pace stays intact, they won’t need to worry about nail-biters this year.
“We have to stay humble and keep working hard,” Tutt said. “We just have to stay focused.”