Stonewall Jackson 39,
Potomac (Va.) 32
On third and goal from the 4-yard line in the waning seconds of a tie game -- and with no timeouts remaining -- one would have expected Stonewall Jackson to put the ball in the hands of Stonewall senior Chris Garrett or freshman Ryan Williams, who already had racked up more than 300 mud-stained yards between them.
Instead, junior quarterback Ricky Milbourne handed off to junior Domonique Vaughn, an obscure choice to help deliver a team from obscurity. Vaughn's touchdown with 11 seconds left lifted the Raiders to a 39-32 win last night at Potomac (Va.) in a game that determined the Cedar Run District championship.
It marked Stonewall's first outright district title since 1984 and continued a sharp upturn for a team that had gone 16-44 the past six years, with no playoff appearances since 1996. To boot, Potomac had won the past 10 games in the series.
"It's too big. Too big. Long time," said Vaughn, who was not surprised that second-year coach Loren Johnson called his number in that situation after first faking a Garrett sweep.
With it being third down and with no timeouts left, regulation would have ended in a 32-32 tie had Vaughn not squeezed into the end zone.
"My coaches trust me," he said, "and I know when it's my turn to get the ball, I'll get it."
"I tell my kids all the time, you never know when you're going to get the opportunity," Johnson said. "I know we have a lot of kids that could play now. We have a lot of kids that should be playing now. But everybody's buying into the team thing. I have faith in all my kids that they can play."
Williams (169 yards) and Garrett (149 yards) scored two touchdowns each and did not seem to mind the 80-yard scar of mud that ran down the center of the rain-drenched field. Each team scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, shoddy field or not.
Both teams had already secured playoff spots -- Stonewall (8-2, 5-1) in Virginia AAA Northwestern Region Division 6 and Potomac (6-4, 3-3) in Division 5.
"We just couldn't tackle anybody tonight," said Potomac Coach Ben Stutler, whose team had beaten Stonewall, 50-21, a month ago. "It's a game, and sure it was a district championship, but you know what? It pales [to] what's ahead of us."
Potomac junior Vaughn Walker ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and senior quarterback Mike McClain threw for two touchdowns and ran for one, including a 43-yarder that tied the score at 32 with 4 minutes 7 seconds left. Potomac trailed 26-13 late in third quarter.
Stonewall's 60-yard drive in the final minutes, sustained by a 49-yard Williams run on fourth and 7, was the difference.
"The kids have been very, very good about remembering plays that we taught them [in the preseason]," Johnson said. "That last drive was all stuff that we put in [during] two-a-days. And I just went back to bread and butter."