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IS THIS MANASSAS’ YEAR IN FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS?

Underdog Osbourn visits Battlefield, while favored Freedom hosts Unity Reed in region semis

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Osbourn High School Manassas football Quentin Davis

Quentin Davis and the Osbourn Eagles (8-3) hope to keep their magical season going at Battlefield (11-0) Friday night.

The Class 6 Region B football semifinal round Friday night could end up rosy for two Manassas schools, Osbourn and Unity Reed.

Both are solid underdogs, especially the No. 6-seeded Lions (6-5), who head to Woodbridge to face high-scoring No. 2 seed Freedom (9-2). 

The No. 4-seeded Osbourn Eagles (8-3) might have a better chance. Riding a wave of strong play, the reborn Osbourn program heads west to Haymarket to take on top-seed Battlefield (11-0), the region’s only undefeated team.

Both are repeat matchups. Freedom shut out Unity Reed 35-0 in Week 4, dealing the Lions their first loss. The following Friday the Bobcats bested Osbourn 16-0, the first of three shutouts authored by the Battlefield defense.

In the playoffs’ opening round, Unity Reed upset Patriot 49-35 while Freedom handled Forest Park 63-0. Meanwhile, Osbourn won its first playoff game since 2010, clipping Gar-Field 10-0 in a contest with no offensive touchdowns.

Battlefield is region’s top team

While pleased with his Bobcats so far, first-year Battlefield coach Greg Hatfield  is worried about Osbourn. 

He sees a dangerous Eagles’ team having a special year. “Osbourn is tough. They have playmakers on every level of their defense,” said Hatfield, whose team averages 32.4 points a game, but got past Osbourn 16-0.

“Their offense is explosive, and their QB [Jakari Lewis] is one of the most dynamic players in the state,” Hatfield continued.

Osbourn fifth-year helmsman Cortez Whiting thinks his Eagles need to play “almost a perfect football game.”

“Battlefield, they don’t make too many mistakes,” he assessed. “They don’t go for the kill shot, they just chop and chop and chop you. So we need to have a mindset that we can’t make mistakes.”

The Eagles have won five of their last six, led by Lewis, a converted running back now calling signals behind a big offensive line of Brandon Hastings and Matthew Pack. Diego Aviles is a receiving threat at tight end.

Aviles and Ki’Yon Boxley head Osbourn’s defense at linebacker and lineman, respectively.

In the Virginia High School League’s ratings, unbeaten Battlefield won the region by nearly four full points over Freedom, 35.6 to 31.7.

“Our goal each week is to be a better team than we were the week before,” said Hatfield, a veteran head coach who moved in from Class 4 power Eastern View in Culpeper. “Our players are really working toward that.”

Bobcat quarterback Jonathan Walters continues to improve his passing game, finding receivers Braden Boggs, Brandon Binkowski, and Dominic Taylor. Running backs Graham Jones and Quincy Bell are hard to bring down.

“Our offensive line has improved each game,” Hatfield added, referring to a corps led by Wes Williams and Jayden Perez, both 6-foot-5 and combining for 515 pounds.

The coach praised the physicality of his defense, with Binkowski at linebacker and Boggs and Caleb Woodson at cornerback.

“Our D-line has been very physical, our linebackers are flying to the ball, and our secondary continues to create turnovers,” he said.

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