WASHINGTON (WUSA) — The Westfield Bulldogs took an undefeated record into the Northern Region Championship game last November, only to see their dreams of a state title ruined by their arch nemesis, the Centreville Wildcats.
The home loss was as deflating of a defeat the program has had since a similar upset back in 2006, at the hands of the Chantilly Chargers.
“Boy, I’ll tell you about having a sour taste in your mouth,” Westfield head coach Kyle Simmons said. “There were quite a few lessons to be learned — from the players’ perspective and from a coach’s standpoint. Some attention to detail and special teams let us down.”
Record Last Season: 12-1
Strengths: The culture. Since its creation in 2000, Westfield has arguably been the most elite program in the state of Virginia — current NFL players Eddie Royal and Evan Royster headlined some of the school’s most dominant years in the mid-2000’s. Even with the loss of more than 40 seniors, time and time again, the Bulldogs have been able to reload instead of rebuild.
Best Player: Quarterback Chris Mullins. The 6-foot-1, 215 pound senior was battling for the starting job last season before a concussion sidelined him for several weeks during camp. Primarily a tight end last year, the athletic Mullins is accustomed to the lofty expectations that come with Westfield. The sharpshooting guard helped lead the basketball team to a region title in 2011.
Breakthrough Player: Running back Tyler Thrasher-Walker. The junior will be making his varsity debut in 2012 and is expected to become a star. Head coach Kyle Simmons said that Thrasher-Walker will begin the season as the featured running back, but could move to wide receiver, an area in which the Bulldogs are lacking.
Why fans should be excited: Senior guard Joon Yeo, who was born in Korea. At 6-foot-3, 330 lbs. Simmons on his monster lineman:
“He’s sort of new to the game of football. His first team ever playing organized sports was freshman year. He’s got the build, he’s got the body. Temple is giving him a look. His progression this year will be a big part of our success up front.”
Biggest Game: Centreville