Gar-Field Coach Tony Labozzetta knew that his senior running back, Larry Atkinson, had a chance to break the 1,000-yard mark for the season entering last night's Cardinal District finale against visiting Woodbridge. What he didn't expect was for Atkinson's younger brother, Jamar, to make a run at that number.
Jamar, a sophomore, rushed for 265 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries to finish with 884 regular season yards and lead the No. 19 Indians to a 35-20 victory. The win clinched a spot in the Virginia AAA Division playoffs for Gar-Field (8-2, 5-1). The Indians play No. 2 Hylton next week, thanks to North Stafford's 41-7 victory over Stafford last night.
Woodbridge finished 4-6, 3-3.
Larry Atkinson rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 1,005 yards in a season that started with a three-yard game in the opener against George Washington-Danville.
"I always have to remind [Jamar] who is the big brother," said Larry, who at 5 feet 7 is seven inches shorter than his younger brother. "He thinks because he is bigger, he can push me around, but it doesn't work that way."
Larry put Gar-Field ahead 14-7 in the first quarter by dodging his way through the Woodbridge secondary for a 24-yard touchdown run.
Jamar made it 21-14 midway through the second quarter by turning a simple left-side sweep into a 93-yard touchdown. He added a 57-yard score in the third quarter.
"My brother blocked really well for me," Jamar said. "We always like to compete to see who gets the most yards, but we help each other by blocking. The offensive line opened up big holes tonight."
Woodbridge committed four turnovers, including quarterback Abey Malave Lopez's fourth-quarter interception that Gar-Field senior Steward White returned 58 yards for a touchdown.
"We had a hard time stopping [Jamar Atkinson] tonight," Woodbridge Coach Ron Davis said. "We missed some tackles and he made some big plays when it counted."