HAMPTON, Va. — Once again, it had come to this. Westfield and Oscar Smith simply do not play games that end within 48 minutes. So when the Bulldogs and Tigers lined up for overtime to decide Saturday’s Virginia 6A football championship, you could throw out the stats.
Throw out Westfield’s blown 14-point second-half lead. Throw out the Tigers’ touchdown on the first play of overtime and Westfield’s missed extra point in double OT.
The plays that matter in the rivalry that has come to define Virginia championship football span two or three yards. In last year’s state final, Westfield forced an incompletion on fourth and goal from the 2-yard line in triple overtime.
This year, it was fourth and goal from the 3 in double overtime. And after another goal-line stand, it ended the same way: Westfield 34, Oscar Smith 28.
Christian Karl has spent the last year thinking about this Saturday. It keeps the Westfield senior up at night contemplating another Virginia state football title. He stares at the ceiling trying to hear the final whistle, imagining the last seconds ticking down.
Sometimes he catches himself watching “the play,” the one that shredded almost every major ligament in his knee. He still wonders how it all happened.