On surface level, Josh Hayes’ eight-yard touchdown run Friday night showed his ability to find a cutback lane and use his 5-foot-9, 174-pound frame to bully two Forest Park defenders past the goal line.
But beyond the framework of the play, Hayes – like Osbourn Park as a whole – showed he could bounce back from the quasi-catastrophic.
In the first quarter of the Yellow Jackets’ 12-7 upset win over No. 15 Forest Park, Hayes – who doubles as a starting corner – was victimized by the fastest 18-year old in the state. Bruins’ senior receiver Mustaqeem Williams — the area’s premier short sprinter — caught a screen pass and cut inside for a 64-yard touchdown to put the Bruins up 7-0.
Osbourn Park didn’t have to shake off just one scoring play, but four weeks of futility.
Before they beat the Bruins last Friday, the Yellow Jackets (1-4) were languishing in the midst of an imperfect season. Their last loss – to then-undefeated Hylton – was decided by a 48-point margin.
But the sun rose on Sept. 21, and to a player the Yellow Jackets showed up for the team’s Saturday film session.
“I think that was the beginning,” said Osbourn Park Coach Brian Beaty, “because they could have easily stayed home in bed and licked their wounds.”
When the tape turned to Forest Park (3-1), Hayes saw a talented yet beatable opponent.
“After seeing film, we saw that they were a good team, but not a very great team,” Hayes said. “We thought that we had a chance to beat them through the running game.”
Forest Park entered the game – its homecoming tilt – without having allowed a point in the first half of a game this season.
That streak endured, but Hayes and company didn’t relent. The senior back – who found himself the unwilling star of a viral video a few weeks back – gained 149 yards on 30 carries.
On his third quarter, game-tying touchdown run, Hayes thought the play would end via gang tackle three yards short of the goal line. But he didn’t relay that message to his churning legs.
“I saw two defenders,” Hayes said. “In my head, I’m thinking ‘I guess I’m going down.’ I lowered my shoulder man, and I took those two guys with me into the end zone.”
The Yellow Jackets scored the game-winning touchdown later in the quarter, when the Bruins’ punter dropped a snap in the end zone.
“Things fell our way,” Beaty said. “In the past few weeks, we’ve given up those plays.”
After Osbourn Park’s team bus made it back to Manassas, Hayes and some teammates scooted over to a nearby McDonald’s to re-hash the victory over some burgers and fries.
“We’ve been struggling for the last four weeks,” Hayes said. “We were just very hungry for the first win.”
Vanderbilt recruit Trace McSorley threw for 406 yards and two touchdowns as Briar Woods (4-1) continued its local dominion with a 45-16 win over Woodgrove on Friday. . . Potomac (Va.) (2-2) left Haymarket one missed extra point shy of forcing overtime with Battlefield (3-2) in a defensive struggle. The Bobcats held on 10-9.