As far as big plays go, it would be hard to think of one bigger than the interception Stonewall Jackson senior Chris Garrett returned 65 yards for a touchdown Friday to put the finishing touch on the Raiders' 22-14 victory at Osbourn Park in the Cedar Run District opener for both teams.
Garrett's return gave Stonewall a 22-7 lead early in the fourth quarter, helping the Raiders improve to 3-1, their best start since the 1997 team started 4-0. Osbourn Park, the two-time defending district champs, had its 13-game district winning streak snapped.
Despite his heroics, however, Garrett echoed several of his teammates when he humbly described the reason behind Stonewall's successful start this season -- the Raiders have won more games this year than in the two previous years combined.
"We believe," Garrett said. "The difference between this season and last season is that we worked hard in the offseason, the trust we put in each other and the fact that we believe in ourselves."
Osbourn Park (0-4) took a 7-3 halftime lead with an interception return of it own, as senior defensive back Ashley Houston returned a pass 15 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter.
Stonewall senior Martae Williams, playing in his first game since returning to the team, helped get some of those points back when he downed Raiders' senior punter Zach Hudak's third-quarter punt on the Yellow Jackets' 1-yard line.
On the ensuing play, Stonewall senior defensive end Chris Lancaster led a gang of defenders who stuffed Osbourn Park junior running back Devin Thompson for a safety that made the score 7-5.
On the following series, junior quarterback Ricky Milbourne connected with freshman running back Ryan Williams on a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Raiders a lead they would not relinquish.
"We have not been used to winning on this team after we went 2-8 last year," said second-year Stonewall coach Loren Johnson. "We've gone through a lot of adversity but we've gotten through it by believing in each other and believing in the team."