This game was the first in our DMV Game of the Week series where we are joining with Monumental Network to feature some of the best high school football contests from around the D.
This is the type of matchup that regional rules can discourage, but which have the capability to bring attention to D. Both Maryland and Virginia public schools do not receive any points toward their state playoffs by playing private schools, dissuading some programs from trying to schedule such matchups.
Both Gonzaga and Centreville had previously scheduled games, against Dunbar and TC Williams, but were able to get the other schools to play each other instead. The Wildcats scored at least 45 points in every game, winning by no fewer than 20 in any contest.
Meanwhile, despite going just the year prior, Gonzaga enters the game ranked 22nd, and after crushing Neshaminy Pa. A contest of that significance has attracted the attention of ESPN, who picked the game up for an ESPNU broadcast, the first time a Fairfax County public school has ever had a nationally televised game.
Reyda visited the Centreville campus Friday morning to get a feel for the lay of the land. He saw students hanging signs for the game as early as in the morning.
When the game finally began, the stands on both sides are full, the rowdy student sections thrown into a frenzy anytime a camera gets pointed even close to their direction.
Centreville answers with a methodical, clock-leeching yard touchdown score of its own, capped by a play-action pass for the score, inside of two minutes remaining in the opening quarter. The Eagles break another big run to set up an early second quarter score, and, surprisingly, appear to be the more athletic of the two teams.
After an interception and a late field goal, they take a point lead into the break. The second half is more of the same, as Gonzaga stretches its lead to put the game all but out of reach on a deep touchdown pass from University of Virginia-bound quarterback Nick Johns.
The teams trade a late score each, as Gonzaga comes away with a win. After the contest, even though Haddock and the Centreville players seem a bit stunned by the loss, the head coach recognizes the importance of the contest, and steps back to see the larger picture.
All of that is to say that the real winner Friday night was D. Perhaps others will see the success of this game and realize that, points or no, such matchups are worth scheduling for public and private schools alike.