Updated 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Though the Oakton High football team stretched their losing streak into the last game of the regular season Friday, the Cougars' season will continue into the postseason.
The Cougars enter the Northern Region Tournament as the eighth seed, pitting them against Lake Braddock this week.
Entering Friday's game against Centreville, the Cougars had a chance to move up in the power poll rankings. But a scoreless second half put the game out of reach for the Cougars, giving the Wildcats a 49-28 victory at their home field.
The contest started with a scoring blitz, both teams finding the end zone twice within two minutes. The Wildcats struck first, capitalizing on an interception with a touchdown run a play later.
In the first play of the Cougars' next drive, Mike Wandey carried to the 9-yard line and Kyle Downer ran in the touchdown a play later to tie the game. The Wildcats answered with a 32-yard touchdown run soon after, but a missed extra point gave the Cougars a 14-13 advantage.
Both offenses slowed for the rest of the first quarter, with the next touchdown not coming until about four minutes into the second: Wandey broke through the Wildcat defense for a 74-yard touchdown to stretch the Cougars' lead to 21-13.
Wandey led the Cougars in rushing with 158 yards, and Kyle Downer added 127 rushing yards.
But the Wildcats did not take long to answer, as A.J. Turner scored a 64-yard touchdown with 7:24 left in the first half. Both teams scored once more before halftime — Downer scored on a 21-yard run for the Cougars; Charles Tutt received a 45-yard pass from quarterback Scott Walter for the Wildcats — to leave the Cougars with 28-27 heading into the second half.
The Wildcats' defense buckled down in the second half, leaving the Cougars scoreless through the end of the game while the Wildcats added three more touchdowns — completing a two-point conversion on the second touchdown to make up for the missed extra point earlier in the game.
The loss is the fourth straight for the Cougars, pushing them to the bottom of the Virginia High School League power rankings' eligible teams. But they remain in contention for a region title, with their first postseason battle scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lake Braddock.