Generals Dispatch Heritage, Head To State Title Game
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Dec 7, 2013, 18:55
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
DINWIDDIE — The Generals back-up quarterback Ethan Eubank led Dinwiddie to the line of scrimmage as the seconds ticked off the clock. In the stands, the Generals' crowd stood on their feet as they applauded and cheered their team in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
Eubank received the ball — 30 seconds left — took two steps back and kneeled down, letting the clock reach 0:00 as the celebration began. Dinwiddie players quickly gathered together, jumped up and down from sheer excitement while others hugged, experiencing the jubilation of reaching a state championship game.
In the stands, a chant could be heard above all of the screaming on the field.
"We are going to the ship. We are going to the ship," the crowd said in perfect unison as it grew louder and louder with each sentence.
It all added to the picturesque scene unfolding on the field with the navy blue scoreboard in the background as the centerpiece. In a game filled with complicated defenses and styles of offense, the scoreboard shined brightly with simplicity.
Dinwiddie 46, Heritage 14.
"I'm just excited for those kids. Nobody knows the kind of work they put in," Generals head coach Billy Mills said after his team clinched its first regional championship since 2010. "Two and a half hours, four days a week starting in January all the way through the season. I told them not everyone can do this. They put in the work each week. Never complained and just tried to get better each day."
The results spoke for themselves on the field.
During the regular season, Dinwiddie's defense surrendered a total of 99 points in 10 games. Yet, in the playoffs they have been even more dominant while playing the best competition the 4A South Region has to offer.
The Generals shutout their first three opponents during the postseason, but Heritage tallied the first points against them — both coming in the last three minutes of action. However, there is a caveat.
It came against a defense filled out with second-stringers and Junior Varsity members, yet even after allowing 14 points, the numbers tell a dominating tale.
In the four playoff games, Dinwiddie has allowed an average of 3.5 points per game while defeating teams by an average margin of victory of 41 points per contest.
"Those starters still haven't given up a point," Mills said of his defense. "We had our JV kids in there, but you know what? Those guys come out and work every week and they scored, but they didn't just let them waltz in there. Those guys go in there every week, give us a good look and make us better. This is team deal with us."
Added senior defensive back Rashaad Goodwyn:
"Our defense is crazy," Goodwyn said. "I love my defensive guys. We come in each week and come in ready to work and we play as 11. That's what you have to do out there."
And it was easy to see the genuine form of brotherhood formed by the Dinwiddie players.
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
They mauled running back Sadarius Williams after his 191-yard rushing effort for two touchdowns on just 20 carries. They gathered around both the offensive and defensive lines which both dominated the game.
Dinwiddie rushed for an unearthly 328 yards on 42 carries — a 7.8-yard average — while the Generals' defensive line held the Hurricanes to just 42 yards on 27 carries.
Yet, even with all of the moving pieces, it was Williams who shined the brightest in the 4A South Region Championship game. It wasn't just his rushing which stole the show, but he also pinned Heritage to the two-yard line on a pooch-punt while also laying out several receivers in his customary linebacker position.
"I'm enjoying every last second I have with that kid," Mills said of Williams. "What an incredible football player. Somebody is going to get a great football player for the next four years. Every time he comes out and plays, he amazes me."
But perhaps, it's more amazing to the community what Mills has accomplished in eight years at the helm of the Dinwiddie program.
He took over a program which had not made the playoffs since the start of the century and slowly built it up to this point. Playoff appearances have become a regularity, state championships are the goal and it's become a mindset within the team.
"The Billy Mills' program starts from middle school and it carries on to your senior season," Goodwyn said. "It would mean a lot. It's been a long time coming. We've put in the work from January until now and we're not stopping until we get the ring."
Nearly five years ago, Dinwiddie reached the state championship game, but fell to Phoebus. With only Sherando standing in their path, the Generals aim to finish what they started next week, gunning for the first state title in program history.