They were talking about practice. Not a game, just one more practice. And as the Stonewall Jackson players huddled following their harrowing 51-48 win over No. 16 Langley in the Virginia 6A North region playoffs, the Raiders announced what time they will be holding said workout on Monday.
“Two-Oh-Five,” they shouted in unison — a response to a query from Coach Mike Dougherty.
“Before the game, we said we would have practice at 2:05,” junior lineman Tim Settle explained. “We knew we were going to beat this team.”
It wasn’t easy. The Saxons (9-3) charged out to a 14-0 lead to open the game, and Stonewall Jackson trailed until the 7-minute 59-second mark of the fourth quarter.
“It’s just in our team. We never get down on ourselves, and we stay together,” said senior receiver Kaleb Prejean, who caught two touchdown passes. “If we go down by 20 or we go down by 30, we stay together.”
With junior running back Tyler West (41 carries, 258 yards) gashing Stonewall Jackson with one big gain after another, the Raiders made an adjustment to their defensive front during halftime.
“Me and [senior lineman Diandre Stubbs] played closer together, and they were kinda confused,” Settle said. “They didn’t know who to double-team. That gave me and him a free release and left the guard by himself.”
The normally sure-handed Greg Stroman had to overcome a pair of fumbles on back-to-back Langley punts midway through the third quarter with the game tied at 28.
“My team just held me up on the sideline and kept my head in it,” Stroman said. “They told me that I was going to get it back, and that’s what happened.”
He got it back for good on a 53-yard scoring run with 2:35 left in the fourth quarter.
On a designed sweep to the left, “Javon [Purvis] led me around the corner, Diandre sealed the edge and the receivers — Mike Mike [Quinn] and Kaleb — just blocked their men, and it just opened up,” Stroman said.
Langley’s last chance came on a potential game-tying 32-yard field goal with 12 seconds left. The kick had plenty of leg but was pulled left.
“It was fun until the end, obviously,” West said. “We wanted to win and move forward in the playoffs, but unfortunately we weren’t able to.”
“That happened to us last year, when we worked our butts off for it,” Settle said of the finish. “We know what it feels like. We’re trying to go all the way to the top now. I’m talking about states.”