After the clock reached zero in W.T. Woodson's 29-14 first-round play-off victory over Robinson, the Cavaliers' offense beckoned the home crowd in Fairfax County to louder and then lulled off to join teammates for handshakes.
It was a measured, self-assured response to a victory after a season's fall, making it seem like the Cavaliers, the No. 1 seed in the 6C region of Virginia, had been here many times before. But they do not really have that. Not for a long time.
The last playoff victory of the program came in 2009. That was also the last time the team had a winning record for the regular season of 9-1.
"We're the number one seed for the first time in a long time, it should not happen 10-1 It should not happen because we're Woodson," said senior defensive lineman Gurlal Nijjar. "But that's the chip on our shoulder, we have to go out every week and give everything because we do not get respect."
Perhaps what made the Cavaliers, co-champions of the Patriot District, so calm after Friday night's victory, is that after a season that surprised many outside their locker room, they got used to winning.
"We are firmly convinced that we are not by chance or by chance in this position," said coach Jared Van Acker.
Van Acker, who arrived in Battlefield in May 2017, said that this season is partly determined by the comfort that comes with experience. The team has 31 seniors, a class whose coach said the program is the biggest in "a very long time." And the coach himself is more comfortable in his second year – after he has sniffed to settle last year, he can now focus on football.
"I'm joking that this is really the first year and last year was the year zero," he said. "I arrived so late in the game that I got to know the names of people when I was supposed to commit a violation."
The Cavaliers have won this season with a defense that has allowed 7.6 points per game and a violation with many options. They use two quarterbacks, second pseudonym Joe Pesansky and senior Jack Fisher, as well as a wildcat package with senior descending Isaiah Barnes. Van Acker refers to the different looks as a 'perfect mix & # 39 ;.
Fisher took first possession on Friday evening and Pesansky took the second. On that second stage, the second team hit three deep throws, which eventually led to a three-yard wild-cat by Barnes to make it 7-0. From there, Pesansky remained in the game and continued to look deeply. He continued to throw for three touchdowns, all longer than 30 yards.
"I come in and just try to control the game, check the safety and get the ball in the hands of my recipients," Pesansky said.
The defense of the Cavaliers kept Pesansky and company on the field and forced Robinson (6-5) to keep the ball on the ground by completing two passes before the break. It stayed on top of the wing T-schema of the Ram, keeping them out of the rhythm and allowing the clock to run.
The Cavaliers will face South County next week.