All-Met Sports, The Washington Post

Al Thomas, legendary Maryland high school football coach, dies at 76

There were two things that mattered most to Maryland high school coaching legend Al Thomas: family and football. In his later years, as his health declined, his time spent out of the house was at his grandsons’ sports games or area football practices.

“He was always a football coach,” said his son, Marc Thomas. “He really didn’t have much else in his life aside from being a football coach and a father.”

Al Thomas won a record eight state championships in his more than four decades on the sideline. He posted an all-time record of 242-47, 10th best in state history. He was inducted into the Maryland football hall of fame more than 20 years before he coached his final game.

He died Friday evening in hospice care in his sleep, his son said. The cause was cancer. He was 76.

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All-Met Sports, The Washington Post

Deja vu: Westfield stops Oscar Smith in double OT to win the Virginia 6A football title

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.

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All-Met Sports, The Washington Post

For Westfield lineman Christian Karl, the road back from a major knee injury comes full circle

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.

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All-Met Sports, The Washington Post, Uncategorized

Andrew Funaki’s versatility sparks South Lakes football’s historic playoff run

The competition for South Lakes’ holder on field goals and extra points went as follows:

“Funaki, get in there!”

The Seahawks needed somebody to do the job, and Coach Trey Taylor hadn’t slotted it on his depth chart during summer training camp. So he grabbed Andrew Funaki, a senior Swiss Army knife of a football player, to try it.

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All-Met Sports, The Washington Post

Westfield’s defense sets the tone, and the offense follows in a Virginia 6A North semifinal win over Madison

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Westfield’s Nolan Cockrill (97), forces one of three Madison turnovers, by sacking Madison quarterback Jacob Choutka to fumble as the Bulldogs topped the Warhawks in a Virginia 6A North region semifinal in Vienna. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Every game, it seems, Westfield’s offense must answer to its defense. The Bulldogs’ linebackers come off the field whooping and hollering after a stop or turnover.

“Your turn, O!” they yell as the offense takes the field.

And every game, somehow, the offense finds a way to respond.

“You just have to hang in there on offense,” Coach Kyle Simmons said.

Saturday, it was an 80-yard touchdown strike from Rehman Johnson toSean Eckert that broke open No. 15 Westfield’s 31-13 win against No. 11 Madison in a Virginia 6A North region semifinal in Vienna.

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