By Luke Anderson | [email protected]
T.C. Williams’ varsity football team won its first playoff game in almost 30 years last Friday night, defeating West Springfield 21-20 and advancing to the district semifinals.
While the Titans have gone to the playoffs as recently as 2017, this was the team’s first playoff win since 1990, according to athletic director James Parker.
The Titans finished the regular season with a 7-3 record and were seeded fifth in the Gunston District, Division 6A playoff rankings.
Coach James Longerbeam said Friday’s win shows the team’s dedication to the program.
“All of their hard work is now coming to fruition,” he said.
The Nov. 15 game against West Springfield started off slow: The teams were tied 0-0 after the first quarter. About halfway through the second quarter, quarterback and defensive back Robert Longerbeam scored a touchdown off of a shanked punt, giving the Titans a 7-0 lead.
West Springfield also scored during the second quarter but missed the extra point, putting T.C. Williams ahead 7-6 at halftime.
After a blocked punt, Longerbeam scored the Titans’ second touchdown in the third quarter. However, West Springfield scored again several seconds into the fourth quarter and made a two-point conversion, tying the score at 14-14.
With less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Longerbeam completed a pass to Ricardo Ross, who scored another touchdown for T.C. Williams and brought the score to 21-14. West Springfield scored again with two and a half minutes left in the game, but Titans defenders Jesse Bonilla and Ross stopped West Springfield’s two-point conversion attempt. The Titans ran out the remaining time on the clock, leaving the final score at 21-20.
Coach Longerbeam said that his son’s first touchdown helped to solidify the win and also credited Anthony Eaton, who had 25 carries totaling more than 98 yards.
The Titans take on South County High School, which is undefeated and beat T.C. Williams earlier this season, in Lorton tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
“We have to play mistake-free football if we want to beat South County,” Parker said in an email.
Both he and Coach Longerbeam are optimistic that the Titans can pull out a win, especially since the halftime score in their last match against South County was 14-13.
The coach said the Titans need to continue practicing their techniques this week and stay focused on keeping control of the ball during next game.
(Read more: Quarterback Robert Longerbeam leads T.C. to playoffs)