Justin Sears was fed up with hearing about last week.
Osbourn Park's 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior defensive lineman was at the center of a swarming Yellow Jackets defense that bounced back from a 55-point loss to Hylton the week before to shut out Gar-Field until the last eight seconds of the game in a 21-7 home win Friday night.
Sears and his teammates made a habit of gang-tackling Gar-Field ball carriers, giving them no chance to move the ball throughout the contest, which Sears said was a marked difference from the Hylton game.
"All I heard this week was that the defense didn't do its job [against Hylton]," Sears said. "Tonight, we came and did our best and we were able to stop them. Everyone did the things they were supposed to tonight."
Osbourn Park's offense also sparkled in the early going, with junior running back Daniel Mason scoring on two first-half touchdown runs. But it was the defense that carried the team throughout. At one point in the third quarter, after a particularly crunching Osbourn Park tackle that resulted in a 10-yard loss, one of Gar-Field's running backs had to remove his helmet and dump out the dirt that had collected inside.
"We knew we had to play a lot better than we did last week if we were going to win," Osbourn Park Coach Brian Beaty said. "We had a real stingy defensive effort."
Granted, the Yellow Jackets' defensive display came against a Gar-Field team that was more than a little shorthanded. The Indians' top two running backs were injured in the first quarter of last week's victory over Battlefield. Senior Mike King tore his ACL and is out for the season, and senior Jonathan Clarkson is week-to-week with a deep foot bruise, Gar-Field Coach Joe Mangano said.
On Friday, Gar-Field (1-4) scored its touchdown on a 32-yard pass from senior Justin Wallace to Alex Cloninger with eight seconds left in the game.
The Yellow Jackets (3-1) will face Potomac next week, a game that should be a good barometer for both teams heading into their district schedules the following week.
"We're a good team, Potomac's a good team, but we need to come out on top," Mason said. "It's important for us to play with the same intensity that we showed today."
Meanwhile, Mangano is looking forward to his team's week off to regroup.
"We couldn't get a bye week at a better time," he said.