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Showdowns galore as Osbourn, Forest Park, Unity Reed join the playoff party

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Brentsville sophomore quarterback Caleb Alexander is a run-pass threat who has been a talented addition for new coach Loren White.

The second season is here. Friday kicks off a full slate of gridiron action that sees eight Prince William schools fighting for the right to play again. Three of these first round contests are rematches between district rivals.

Osbourn and Forest Park end long playoff droughts, while the Brentsville Tigers are in for the seventh straight season, the longest active streak in the county.

In an intriguing matchup of resurgent programs, No. 4 seed Osbourn (7-3, 4-2 in the Cedar Run District/3rd place) hosts No. 5 Gar-Field (5-5, 4-2 in the Cardinal District). It’s been a decade since the Eagles last earned a playoff bid, while the Red Wolves endured a seven-year drought that began in 2011.

No. 3 seed Patriot (7-3, 5-1 Cedar Run/2nd) welcomes No. 6 Unity Reed (5-5, 2-4 Cedar Run/5th). The Lions won their final two games by a combined 80-21 score to win their way in, while the Pioneers hope to replicate their 36-0 defeat of Unity Reed in Week 7.

The No. 2 Eagles of Freedom (8-2) went 5-1 to capture the Cardinal. They are playoff mainstays since winning 13 games and making the state title game in 2018. 

Freedom meets Forest Park Bruins (5-5, 4-2 Cardinal/3rd), who earn a bid for the first time since 2015.

In an exciting last-minute 42-41 victory over rival Patriot to end the regular season, Battlefield (10-0, 6-0 Cedar Run for 1st) secured the region’s top spot.

The Bobcats’ opponent will be No. 8 Colonial Forge (4-6), the region’s sole Commonwealth District school. 

The Virginia High School League initially reported Potomac (4-5, 3-3 Cardinal for 5th) in the eighth and final Region B slot, but issued a correction Monday and ruled the Eagles in.

Because the Panthers lost to Brooke Point 34-33 in Week 2 while Forge beat Point 35-27 in Week 10, the Panthers were denied their first postseason bid since 2014.

Woodbridge (4-6, 4-2 Cardinal for 2nd) missed out on a playoff berth by 1.1 points in the VHSL rating system.

BRENTSVILLE: Could potent Tigers make a run to states?

Brentsville’s back again.

The Tigers (8-2) ride a six-game win streak into their seventh consecutive Class 3 Region B postseason appearance. 

Brentsville’s losses came to Class 4 playoff-bound foes Kettle Run and James Wood.

Seeded No. 2 in the region, this a powerful Tigers squad that shellacked most of their opponents to win the Northwestern District. They even beat Meridian 23-20, although Meridian got the region’s top seed on power points.

First-year head coach Loren White said improved execution has led to more aggressive play.

“Before, we would get big plays based on talent. Now we’re to the point where we’re able to scheme across the board and expand our playbook,” White said. “We can definitely be more aggressive.”

Sophomore quarterback Caleb Alexander has thrown for 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Senior running back Bryce Jackson has authored 16 touchdowns on 890 rushing yards.

Three receivers have double-digit catch totals, led by 6-foot-4 senior Luca Orlando with 18 catches and six TDs.

Brentstville shut out Warren County, its first-round opponent, 35-0 in Week 6, one of three shutouts the Tigers have recorded.

“I’m in a blessed situation to come to a school and a community that cares about football and all sports, really,” said White about experiencing success in his first year as a head coach. “We had a good part of last year’s successful team come back, along with some new faces.”

White called the Tigers’ seven-season streak of playoff berths “a phenomenal feat.”

“It speaks about this program, in a part of Prince William County that gets overlooked a lot because we’re 3A,” White said. “To be the one school in this area to make it seven consecutive times speaks for itself.”

While a postseason regular, Brentsville has yet to win it all.

“The expectation is to get here every year. Now we need to put our foot on the pedal and get further in the playoffs,” the coach said.

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