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Friday, July 7, 2017

Top 10 Games: #8: The 4A State Football Championship

The Dinwiddie Generals entered Zable Stadium on the campus of the College of William and Mary 14-0 and one win away from their second 4A State Football Championship in four seasons. In their way stood Salem, the defending 4A state champions making their third straight title game appearance.

Salem led for most of the contest, a position Dinwiddie didn't experience much during their season, but lessons were learned in their come from behind win two weeks earlier against Lake Taylor. Even when the Spartans scored with 7:24 left in the third quarter for a 24-12 lead, Bryce Witt and the Generals focused on the task at hand and went to work.

Two touchdown drives of thirteen and six plays respectively gave Dinwiddie the 27-24 lead early in the fourth quarter. But the Spartans, led by quarterback Noah Beckley, who had a game for the ages, launched a time-killing drive down the field, punctuated by Beckley's fourth down conversion run to the Dinwiddie 30, ending with a short touchdown run with just 50 seconds left to take a 31-27 lead.

Witt and company returned to the field and earned yardage in huge chunks. Witt hit K'Vaughan Pope on a 30-yard pass play. It all came down to a play with three seconds left in the red zone. But Witt's final pass attempt as a General was broken up trying to find the left side of the end zone, and Salem survived to repeat as champions.

Though they finished as 4A State Runner-Up, there was absolutely nothing to be ashamed of for Dinwiddie. Their 2016 season began with a measure of revenge, their second win a romp at playoff rival Hanover Labor Day Weekend. Even when the injury bug struck, role players became standouts, benchwarmers became key role figures, and a 14-1 record, just a play away from a trophy, is not only a season to be proud of, but a season to remember.

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