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FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Wildcats by a hair

Mountain View senior linebackers Clay Shaw and Trent Wilson can keep their razors packed away for at least another week after Friday night’s close shave in the first round of the 5A–North playoffs.

“Fear the Beard” is still in full effect.

Shaw and Wilson were two of the Wildcats’ defensive standouts in their 21–7 home win over Potomac in the first round of the 5A–North Region playoffs.

Shaw recorded two sacks and recovered a fumble at the Mountain View 8-yard line in the third quarter, and Wilson had a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown to salt away the victory in the closing minutes of the fourth.

Mountain View (8–3) advances to play Briar Woods, a 57–0 winner over Potomac Falls, in Friday’s region quarterfinals.

Shaw and Wilson, who started growing their bushy beards at the start of training camp, aren’t ready to shave them off.

“Clay and I started this on Aug. 5. We started growing our beards out for the season. We hope to go far so we’re not shaving for a while,” said Wilson, who started the season-long beard-growing tradition with Shaw when both were freshmen.

On a night when the Wildcats’ offense struggled to sustain drives, the team’s defense came to the rescue.

“That’s tremendous, having a defense that can bail you out in situations like that when the offense can’t get the ball moving,” said Wildcats senior tailback Gordon Collins, whose 150 rushing yards accounted for well over half of the team’s 242 total yards.

“And then you’ve got a defense that scores points for you. That’s great. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Mountain View forced five turnovers. Senior defensive back Quinton Gray had two of the team’s four interceptions, and senior linebacker Alex Windsor had a critical pick in the end zone to save a touchdown in the first half.

“Our whole motto this week was attack the ball and get everybody around the ball,” Shaw said. “We need just a party at the football. Our defense was attacking today, and that’s what we needed.”

Potomac (4–7) did a good job of slowing the Wildcats’ offense, but it couldn’t completely shut down Mountain View’s attack.

Collins had a 70-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give his team a lead it would maintain until late in the third quarter.

The Panthers, who saw two red zone chances get snuffed out by the Wildcats’ defense in the first half, finally broke through on Steven Hill’s 3-yard game-tying touchdown run with 1:46 remaining in the third quarter.

Mountain View drove 72 yards on its ensuing possession, and Collins ran untouched for a 9-yard score and a 14–7 Wildcats’ lead.

“I was really proud of that drive,” Wildcats coach Lou Sorrentino said. “They scored but we came right back and answered. That showed a lot of character.”

The outcome was still in question late in the fourth quarter when Potomac attempted a fourth-down pass from the 50-yard line. Torrey Dixon’s throw was tipped into the air, and Wilson came down with the interception.

He rumbled down the right sideline for the touchdown and some breathing room.

“When I was running it back it was like a dream come true, helping my team out in the playoffs,” Wilson said.