Latroy Askew had the kind of game athletes dream of, almost single-handedly bringing Gar-Field back from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Highland Springs, 20-13, in a Virginia Group AAA Division 6 semifinal yesterday before 3,000 at Gar-Field's Ralph Barnett Memorial Stadium.

His team trailing by 13-2 with nine minutes remaining, Askew ran the ball eight times on a nine-play drive, culminating in a five-yard touchdown run.

After Alfred Toole blocked a Highland Springs punt at the Springers 35 with 4:03 left, Askew took his team to the 5 in four plays. He left the game briefly after he was injured by a late hit, and the Indians settled for a game-tying field goal.

Askew finished with 114 of his team's 118 yards offense.

Then, with less than 30 seconds remaining, Askew picked off a Jonas Grant pass and outraced everyone for a 25-yard, game-winning touchdown.

"Unbelievable!" said Coach Chuck White. "We've been riding his back all season. Nothing Latroy does surprises me anymore."

But White admitted he wasn't expecting to win the game in regulation after electing to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Matt Daly with 1:12 left.

"We were in a prevent defense," White said. "I didn't know they were going to throw the ball. To be honest, I was already looking at my play sheet to prepare for overtime."

But Askew was looking at the quarterback and read the pass perfectly.

"One receiver ran an out pattern and the other a deep post, so I was kind of watching both of them," Askew said. "When {Grant} let go, I broke on the ball."

The pass, which was intended for Rodney Archer on the left sideline, was underthrown slightly, enabling Askew to react.

The Indians (11-2) advance to next Saturday's state final against Hampton, 30-8 winners over Annandale. The Springers, runners-up in the state finals last year, ended the season 10-3.

What made the victory sweeter for Askew was the chance to atone for two fumbles that led to Highland Springs scores. Askew fumbled early in the second quarter after gaining five yards on a screen pass. The Springers used the opportunity to construct a 15-play, 60-yard scoring drive, which ended with a third-down pass from Grant to Archer, to give Highland Springs their only touchdown and a 10-2 lead.

With 3:13 left in the third quarter, Askew fumbled away a punt, giving the Springers possession on the Gar-Field 41.

This time, the Gar-Field defense kept Highland Springs out of the end zone, but Todd O'Neil kicked his second field goal of the game for a 13-2 lead.

"I had to redeem myself," Askew said. "I was very upset with myself for the fumbles and the mistakes I had made."

Gar-Field recorded nine sacks in the game, including a first-quarter safety by Brian Stanley.

But on offense, the Indians had little success outside of giving the ball to Askew, a 5-foot-10 senior who finished with 109 yards rushing, 57 in the fourth quarter. It was Askew's 11th 100-plus running game of the season.

"We worked all week on trying to contain him," Archer said. "He just found the holes. He is a great running back."