Fauquier's bid to win a fourth straight Group AAA Division 6 Northwest Region title was thwarted by the one player the Falcons had so desperately wanted to stop: Gar-Field tailback Latroy Askew.
Held to seven yards in the first half, Askew broke an electrifying 95-yard touchdown run with 5:22 left in the third quarter to spark the Indians' 14-point rally as they defeated Fauquier, 14-7, at home last night.
Gar-Field, which lost to Fauquier by 13-7 in overtime during the regular season, will play host to either Lloyd Bird or Highland Springs next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the state semifinals.
"This is a tremendous feeling that I can't put into words," said Askew, who led all rushers with 131 yards on 11 carries.
The Indians' game-winning drive followed a fumble by Fauquier's Shawn Walters (93 yards rushing) that linebacker Brian Golden recovered at the Falcons 44 with 4:21 left in the third. Gar-Field needed just seven plays to score as Askew carried three times for 16 yards.
The key play came on third and nine from the 20 as quarterback Ron Hicks rolled right and lobbed a pass to Chris Popp, who was open over the middle, for a touchdown with 1:18 left to make it 14-7.
The Indians' defense then snuffed Fauquier's complex offense that featured several trick plays during two fourth-quarter possessions.
"We worked hard all week on their trick plays and spread formations," said Gar-Field Coach Chuck White. "We set up some rules and the kids followed them to a T."
But the difference turned out to be Fauquier's inability to shut down Askew in the second half. For 6 1/2 quarters this season, the Falcons had held Askew in check (less than 25 yards), but Gar-Field's shifty tailback had one more shot. A 53-yard punt by Fauquier's Donnie Holt that rolled out at the Indians 5-yard line set the stage for Askew's big run.
On first down, Askew, who carried just four times in the first half, was stopped for no gain. But on second down, he followed the lead blocks of backfield mates Lonte White and William Walker through the right side. Askew appeared halted momentarily, then accelerated to the outside and outraced a host of Falcons 95 yards. Matt Daly's extra point tied the game at 7.
"In the first half, I carried a few times and they stopped me," Askew said. "At halftime, coach said they were going to give me the ball and if I didn't produce they would give it back to Lonte."
But Askew did produce.
A pair of 15-yard penalties proved costly to Gar-Field late in the second quarter. The first -- a clipping call -- effectively snuffed a drive that had reached the Falcons 47.
The second -- a face-mask foul -- ultimately led to a Fauquier touchdown.
Unable to score on their first three possessions of the game, the Falcons showed a new look offensively as they resorted to their two-minute offense with 1:11 left in the half.
Fauquier started at its 28 following a 33-yard punt by Hicks. The Falcons quickly moved up field as Ross Cook picked up 12 yards on a shuffle pass. Holt then completed a 29-yard pass to Carlos Marshall and another 15 yards were tacked on for the face-mask penalty to set up first and 10 at the 15.
From there, Cook carried for two yards and Porter gained eight to make it first and goal from the 5.
After a timeout with 13 seconds left, Holt rolled deep to his left and threw a pass to Wesley Dearing, who was open in the far corner of the end zone. Mike Cackcowski's extra point made it 7-0 with nine seconds left in the half.