Woodbridge ‘Fights Like 4’ all the way to state finals

Woodbridge High holds up Troy Haynes’ No. 4 jersey earlier this season.

NEW CASTLE — There’s been several times this season V.J. Singh finds himself thinking of Troy Haynes during a Woodbridge High football game.

“If it’s a big time moment I’ll call on him like, ‘Troy I need you, our team needs you,’” said Singh, a senior lineman at Woodbridge. “I always try to hold up a No. 4 after a big play. We know he’s with us on this journey.”

Woodbridge has brought Haynes’ memory all the way to the state title game.

The Blue Raiders will try to defend their Division II state championship on Saturday against Howard at the University of Delaware’s Delaware Stadium.

Haynes won a pair of Division II titles for Woodbridge before he graduated last spring. This year’s version of the squad will attempt to win one to honor him after the former All-State quarterback died of cancer two months ago.

For high school students, dealing with a death of a friend and former teammate was always going to be difficult. Haynes’ funeral was held at Woodridge’s football stadium Oct. 5.

“The biggest thing is we got each other,” said Woodbridge coach Jed Bell at the DIAA state championship press conferences on Monday afternoon in New Castle.

“Everyone has really rallied behind us. We got a great support staff with the community, teachers and counselors in the school and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They’ve made it as easy as possible I guess you could say but at the end of the day, just being together is what it’s all about for us.”

“That same field that we share so many great experiences on, we had a funeral there,” Bell added. “That was fitting and what was best for him and his family so we totally understood but it’s impossible to not think about him. It’s been tough for us. ”

Bell laughed and said if a Woodbridge happens to get a lucky break at some point in a game this year he thinks of Haynes.

“Stuff happens and I just got to look up and thank him,” Bell said.

The rallying cry after Haynes’ diagnosis was “Fight Like 4” after the number Haynes wore during his four-year career as Woodbridge’s starting quarterback.

The Blue Raiders displayed some of that fight last weekend. They trailed Caravel 14-7 heading into the final quarter of the state semifinals but found a way to rally for a 21-20 victory — a comeback similar to some Haynes had throughout his career.

“We say all the time perspective is everything,” Bell said. “When your back is against the wall in a football game, how does that truly compare to what one of our guys went through and dealt with on a daily basis? At the end of the day there’s really no excuses to not go out there and play hard for 48 minutes.”

Haynes had a 38-8 record as a starting quarterback at Woodbridge. He led the Blue Raiders to a state title in 2016 as a sophomore before finishing his career with another in 2018 in his senior year.

The Blue Raiders have picked up right where he left off, entering the state title game with a 11-1 overall record.

“Even before he passed away this whole season was always about him,” Singh said.

“We miss him and we’re doing it in his honor,” Bell said. “Our hope is that our play is reflective of that and we can keep making him proud.”

Facebook Comment