The Westfield (Chantilly, Va.) football team’s season ended the way many predicted it would begin — with Virginia’s Group 6A state championship trophy in hand — but as The Washington Post details, the Bulldogs took a far different path than anyone anticipated.
After compiling a 47-7 record over the previous four seasons — including state semifinal appearances the past two seasons and trips to the state quarterfinals in 2011 and 2012 — Westfield had established itself as a perennial state title contender. But the suspension to of six starters for violating Fairfax County’s conduct policy over Labor Day weekend and the death of a former teammate reportedly taxed the Bulldogs to their limit.
With no Division I scholarship players remaining on the roster, per The Washington Post, Westfield lost its second game of the season to South County (Lofton, Va.), 26-19.
“That weight’s been on us the whole year,” Bulldogs senior Tyler Scanlon told the Chantilly Connection after avenging their only loss with a 40-8 state semifinal win over South County. “Early in the year, we were No. 1 preseason ranked; everybody had us walking through this region. Things happened that don’t happen: kids got suspended, kids got expelled, kicked off the team.
“We’ve gone through so much adversity — guys getting hurt. We felt the past four years — every single one of our siblings, our friends, that went through it and fell short, every single day at practice we were dealing with it. I think a lot of us wanted to win this for [Westfield head football coach Kyle] Simmons because he’s been through it those four years. That’s tough as a coach, being so close. We just wanted to put him over the top.”
There was one more obstacle for Westfield to overcome in order to rid themselves of a nickname Scanlon said the Chantilly community had given its football team. “They refer to us as the Buffalo Bills,” the wideout told reporters in a postgame press conference.
That obstacle came in the form of an unbeaten Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) team that had allowed an average of just 9.7 points through its first 13 games. Westfield’s four second-half fumbles didn’t help matters, but as they’d done all season, the Bulldogs battled, forcing three overtimes before finally securing a 49-42 win when Oscar Smith’s game-tying pass attempt on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line feel incomplete.
As Westfield (14-1) senior Tim Beard — a once sparingly used running back who reportedly saw an increased role due to roster turbulence — told reporters afterward, “I just had to nut it up and get my legs rolling.” He finished with 234 yards and three touchdowns — the last of which proved to be the game-winner in triple overtime.