By David Stewart
When the final blast of the canon sounded, the J.E.B. Stuart High School football Raiders reveled in their fourth win of the season after defeating the Hayfield Hawks 21-7 last Friday night, in front of a large and raucous homecoming crowd. The Raiders are playing their best football in over a decade, and last week’s victory was a product of sticking to their successful formula: a pounding ground game, opportunistic passes and a fundamentally sound defense.
After forcing three turnovers and having a short field goal blocked in the first half, Stuart grabbed the lead 6-0 in the third quarter on 47-yard blast from senior running back Chris Kirby. The ensuing two-point conversion attempt was stuffed by Hayfield.
The Hawks responded with a 28-yard run by Jason Stewart that setup a one yard touchdown plunge, and took a 7-6 lead on the extra point.
Their lead wouldn’t last for long.
Stuart drove the length of the field with strong running from Kirby and quarterback Javonte Robinson that lead to a 10 yard run by Robinson for the winning touchdown. Robinson would convert the two point conversion on a run to take a decisive 14-7 lead.
Hayfield quarterback Jason Stewart threw his third interception of the game with less than three minutes remaining deep in the Hawks own territory. Two plays later, Kirby added his second touchdown of the night on a 10-yard run, completing the scoring at 21-7.
Kirby had his best game this season for the Raiders, carrying the ball 33 times for over 240 yards and scoring twice. Robinson added 45 yards in the air, 85 on the ground, and a rushing touchdown.
After losing four fumbles and having a negative turnover margin last week in a loss to Yorktown, the Raiders only fumbled once, while coming away with three interceptions. Omar Daher picked off his third interception in as many games. Overall, the defense held Hayfield’s offense to under 200 yards.
With the win, Stuart improves to 4-4 overall, 3-2 in the National District, good for third place with two games still to play. Stuart has already matched their best win total in over 10 years; their four wins are the most since the 1998-’99 squad finished 4-6.
Stuart travels to Edison High School in Alexandria this Friday to take on the Eagles. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.