RICHMOND- Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake has established itself as a top contender among the state’s elite football programs.
However in the last five years, they have made the final four times and come up short. The latest being this year.
The Tigers’ 14-13 loss to the South County Stallions in the VHSL 6A State Championship game now leaves the Tigers with a record of 2-5 in the state final with all five losses coming in a row over a span of seven years.
The Tigers are now considered, like the Stone Bridge Bulldogs of Division 5 to be the “Buffalo Bills” of that division.
The Bulldogs have not won a title since 2007 and have been to the state finals 9 times overall. They are now 1-8 in state title games.
The Tigers are not as unfortunate but still disappointing nonetheless. But this recent one hurts the men in blue and yellow the most.
In 2013, the Tigers had some of the nation’s best players in DE Josh Sweat now with the Philadelphia Eagles and DT Andrew Brown who was a draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.
They were undefeated heading into the state title but ran into mother nature and the Centreville Wildcats. A team they had thrashed 47-21 just two years earlier.
The Wildcats exacted revenge in a shocking manner of a 35-6 blowout. The Tigers left that day in disbelief remembering how they blew Centreville out earlier and how they took down Osbourn 54-24 back in 2008 for their first title.
In 2015, they reached the final again, but this time they were up against a historical foe. The Westfield Bulldogs had played the Tigers in 2007 and won 24-21 thanks to a big performance from NFL quarterback Mike Glennon.
It took 3 overtimes, but the Tigers fell 49-42 to the Bulldogs after QB Shon Mitchell’s last pass fell incomplete. For the next two seasons, the Tigers fell short to the Bulldogs by scores of 34-28/2OT in 2016 and 28-21 in 2017.
Entering 2019, the Tigers were back and were expected to face Westfield but South County knocked off the Bulldogs the previous week, so there would be a new team to face.
Tigers QB Ethan Vasko opened the game with a 36-yard run that eventually set up the first touchdown of the game, a pass to open Malcolm Britt and a 7-0 lead.
The Tigers appeared to force a punt on South County’s first possession but a roughing the passer penalty on fourth down kept the Stallions offense on the field.
The Stallions capitalized on their good fortune when, nine plays later, Stallions QB Matt Dzierski hit Zion Dayne, the son of NFL player Ron Dayne for a six-yard touchdown pass.
90 seconds later, the Stallions were in the endzone again after a Vasko interception set up RB Keyshawn Toran’s six yard score to make it 14-7. In the second quarter, Oscar Smith cut the deficit to one point as Keyvon King scored on a 4-yard run but a missed extra point kept the score at 14-13. That would be all needed to win.
The final pass of the game fell incomplete and the Stallions from Lorton celebrated their first state championship in school history while the Tigers were left to hang their heads.
They will return next year as a strong group as they always are, but questions will continue to surround this team as to when they will finally win the big one. The postseason is over and the offseason…….has just begun.