After falling behind on a controversial touchdown in the fourth quarter, sixth-ranked Potomac built a 17-play, seven-minute drive and defeated 12th-ranked Gar-Field, 12-7, in a Virginia AAA Commonwealth District game at Woodbridge last night.

Running back John Newsom went off left tackle on 11 plays in the drive. His two-yard plunge with 2:02 left ended the 97-yard lesson in brute force.

After losing all-district players at quarterback, running back and wide receiver this year, Potomac has based its game on its experienced offensive line. Coach Bill Brown got an added feature in Newsom's unexpected 142 yards on 27 carries.

The Panthers (3-0) gave Gar-Field (3-1) ample oppurtunities to score, including a fumble and two interceptions inside their 40-yard line.

Gar-Field seemed to blow another chance early in the fourth quarter when Keith McAfee appeared to block Matt Daly's field goal attempt. The ball fluttered in the air and Potomac recovered.

But McAfee was called for roughing the kicker, and Gar-Field's 229-pound fullback, Lonte White, bulled in on the next play. Daly's kick put Gar-Field ahead, 7-6.

On the next kickoff, Potomac was whistled for clipping, putting the ball at the 6, and Brown, still fuming over the roughing call, was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, putting the Panthers' backs to the end zone to start the last drive.

Coming into the game, Gar-Field tailback LaTroy Askew was the heralded running back, leading the Indians to their surprising undefeated record while becoming one of the area's leading rushers.

But Brown devised a defense that didn't allow Askew to get outside with his tremendous speed. He was held to 63 yards on 14 carries -- only 13 yards in the second half.

Although not a big-play offense this season, Potomac scored in just three plays near halftime.

After the recovery of a fumbled handoff to Askew on Gar-Field's 42-yard line, Panthers quarterback Gilbert Telleria turned an option inside for 29 yards to the 13. Newsom went 12 yards up the middle, then Tommy Peterson went over the right side for the score with 1:55 left.