Gar-Field guilty of looking ahead


[email protected]

MANASSAS Gar-Field came to Stonewall Jackson on Friday expecting a tune-up. What it got was a stiff test.

The Raiders awakened the Indians with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, twice cutting Gar-Field’s lead to seven, but the Indians came back with a touchdown each time on the way to a 27-14 victory.

“Every game’s not going to be a shutout,” said Gar-Field linebacker Brett Carter. “We showed that you could score one on us, but we’re going to get it right back.”

“We didn’t break,” said lineman Mo Steward. “It made us stronger. Everybody was looking forward to Hylton. Well it’s here now.”

The 3-0 Indians will host the undefeated and unscored upon Bulldogs this Friday in a matchup of the No. 1and No.2-ranked teams in the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger’s top-5.

Gar-Field took a 14-0 lead into the fourth period against Stonewall (0-3). The Raiders had gained momentum at the end of the third quarter on a 35-yard play-action pass from Greg Vaughn to Walter Williams on third-and-5. Three plays later, again on third-and-5, Vaughn connected with Billy Thompson for a first down at the 15-yard line. Vaughn scrambled to his right on the next play, hitting Williams for 10 more yards, and Ken Dike plunged in on fourth-and-goal from the one to make it 14-7 with 9:22 to play.

The Indians took a short kickoff and went 58 yards on seven running plays in 3:26 to go up 21-7. Third-stringer Travis Carr, a sophomore, capped the

drive with a 29-yard jaunt during which he ran over a Raider linebacker and defensive back at the 13-yard line.

But the Raiders didn’t quit. Vaughn connected with Trevor O’Neill for 13 yards and Williams for five before a fourth-and-5 encroachment call on the Indians, one of their eight penalties, gave the Raiders a first down.

Vaughn found O’Neill for 27 yards to move the Raiders down to the Indian 14. Gar-Field’s Dominique Horsley appeared to make a diving one-handed interception on the next play, but officials ruled the pass incomplete. Vaughn found Chris Garrett on a quick slant on the next play, cutting the lead to 21-14 with 3:39 left.

Terry Jackson recovered an onside kick at the Gar-Field 49, and McClaude ran for 13, three and 35 yards to give Gar-Field a two-touchdown lead with 2:31 to play.

“We just couldn’t panic,” said McClaude, who finished with 209 yards rushing and has 568 through three games. “This is good for us, for real. Every game isn’t going to be a blowout.”

While Gar-Field’s players and coaches maintained that the hard-fought win should get them focused for their showdown with Hylton, there were signs of progress for Stonewall Jackson.

“This is the first time this year, the first game that we’ve taken a step forward,” said 26th-year head coach Jim Powell, whose team lost 35-0 to Hylton and 13-6 to Forest Park. “We don’t like to lose ever, but we got a little better this game, and hopefully we’ll get a little better next game.”

Vaughn, a 5-foot-10, 174-pound junior completed 12 of 31 passes, including 11 of 20 in the second half. Stonewall completed slants, screens and a few deep balls against a fairly big and fast secondary.

Powell said it wasn’t his plan to pass so often, but did so because his team fell behind.

“I’d like to say we planned it,” he laughed.

In their post-game huddle, the Indians acknowledged that they’ve been looking forward to Hylton not just for a few weeks, but since the Bulldogs scored on the last play to sweep a two-game series last year.

Steward stood up in the team huddle and reminded them how long they’ve been waiting.

“Now, it’s here,” he said.

Similar Posts