All-Met Sports, The Washington Post

West Potomac, T.C. Williams look to make a run in the Virginia 6A North football playoffs

The West Potomac football team boasts two 700-yard rushers, an all-conference quarterback and an 8-2 record. The Wolverines were four points from an undefeated regular season.

And as the Virginia 6A North playoffs kickoff this week, No. 7 seed West Potomac may be the most intriguing team in the bracket.

So what then to make of one of the teams that beats West Potomac? That’d be T.C. Williams of Alexandria, big and physical with a chip on its shoulder, seeing the playoffs for the second time since 1990. The Titans went .500 through the regular season, but one win was a 22-21 upset of the Wolverines on the road.

The next installment of this crosstown matchup comes Friday night in the first round of the Virginia 6A North region playoffs. The winner earns the right to face the victor of No. 2 seed Madison and No. 15 Washington-Lee, and a role as a dangerous dark-horse in the bracket.

“We’ve kind of always been that first-round, second-round team,” West Potomac quarterback Mark Ellis said. “This is the year we want to get over the hump. We feel like we can do it.”

“Everybody said that first West Potomac win was a fluke,” T.C. Williams tailback Jaren Hillian said. “Well it’s not, and we want to do it again.”

For T.C. Williams, that means stopping the Wolverines’ run-game led byJustine Annan (773, 12 touchdowns) and Daiimon Cleveland (810 yards, 10 touchdowns).

In October, the two combined for just 67 yards on 18 carries, and the Titans held them without a score. But Ellis answered the call with 298 yards through the air and three touchdowns. Four weeks later, he threw three more touchdowns as the Wolverines upset South County.

Ellis’s arm doesn’t concern Titans Coach Jimmy Longerbeam — provided his defense can again bottle up the run. The Wolverines are going to either run the ball or throw it all night against the Titans, not both.

“We just try to contain them,” Longerbeam said. “I don’t think we can stop them.”

T.C. Williams’ offense is no secret. The Titans run the ball with two backs in the backfield and dare teams to stop it. In October, West Potomac couldn’t. That was the game’s difference and it came down to a single point.

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