CHANTILLY- It’s hard to forget a rivalry even when you leave high school. It gets very personal when your rival is someone you grew up with.
Ask Westfield football players and fans what they think of when it comes to Centreville, the answer is very obvious.
“They annoyed me, and frankly I like them losing,” says Penn State alum Matthew Simco. “This was a very fierce competition for bragging rights”.
This Friday, the rivals will collide at Centreville High School for another meeting since they started playing in 2001.
From 2001 onward, the Bulldogs demolished Centreville in every matchup until 2011, when the Wildcats upset the Bulldogs in the regional final.
“That game sucked” Radford alum Mason Scoville said. “It still sucks that those guys lost”.
Centreville would go on to have a 4 year stretch of dominance over Westfield including winning a state title in 2013.
In 2014, it looked like the tide was turning back in Westfield’s favor, when the Bulldogs upset the Wildcats 42-41, in double overtime on a rainy night in Chantilly. UVA’s Jacob Levine referred to the night as “The 10/10 massacre”.
“Rainy night, the school was quiet, but it felt great” Levine recalls.
Westfield would lose in the regional final later that year to the Wildcats which left the Bulldogs at 4 straight regional final losses. The media was delighted and referred to the Bulldogs as the Buffalo Bills.
The Class of 2016 decided to take the matters into their own hands.
On their way to a 14-1 record and the first state title since 2007, Westfield went back to Centreville to taunts and jeers and proceeded to shut down the Wildcats 20-12.
In 2016, 2017, and 2018, under the guidance of stars like Wake Forest wide receiver Taylor Morin, UNC linebacker Eugene Asante, and Deleware State’s Bizzett Woodley, Westfield would capture three more region titles and two state titles all while defeating the Wildcats in their journey.
Now in 2019, the teams will meet again and the belief is that the outcome will be the same.
Quarterback Noah Kim will lead the offense and defensive end Max Ahiakpo anchors a unit that has been nothing short of stellar this season.
The defense will attempt to get after Centreville quarterback Jack Shields who’s father Jon, is now the head coach after leaving Westfield the previous year.
There is a reason that the Bulldogs are 7-0. But alumni past and present know that the regular season is not the only thing that counts. It’s the ring in the end that validates the greatness
“I could win 50 games but without a state title it doesn’t help,” JMU’s Patrick Maercklein said. “The state title is what we want, but for sure this game is personal”.
Personal indeed. Alumni are returning home to watch this contest. The reality is that both teams are talented and will have something to show for it. Centreville has the belief that they will upset the Bulldogs on their turf. But Westfield has other thoughts.
“Not gonna happen,” says Jacob Thibodeau. “Ain’t no way we losing and we will show why”.
Words are spoken. Feelings are heard. Dogs vs Cats. LET THE GAMES BEGIN.