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Gar-Field’s defense came up with one big play after another Friday in its 21-13 non-district win over visiting Patriot.

Safety Isaiah Crockett returned a fumble 90 yards in the second quarter that gave the Red Wolves a 21-0 lead with 11 minutes left in the second quarter.

Gar-Field’s defense stopped Patriot quarterback Scott Bateman just short of the goal line on fourth down and five with five minutes left in the game and then came through again with a minute and a half left when they stopped running back Keith Jenkins just short of the first down.

Gar-Field, which started the season 0-2, earned its first win over Patriot after losing the three previous matchups, including last season’s regional semifinal game that handed the Red Wolves their only loss.

The Pioneers got on the board with a fumble recovery of their own by senior Drew Fernandez late in the second quarter and briefly mounted a comeback attempt in the fourth quarter with a long touchdown pass from Bateman to Eddie Henry, but the Red Wolves blocked the subsequent PAT.

For Gar-Field head coach Tony Keiling Sr., the name of the game was great defense, controlling with the run game and an outstanding performance by sophomore quarterback Omar Diallo, who due to injuries was their third quarterback in three games. Running back Elijah Sledge also had an outstanding game and scored the first touchdown of the game.

“Despite starting out the season 0-2, they practiced and played with the hearts of a champion, and I could not be more proud of them,” said Keiling.

Gar-Field (1-2) plays again next Saturday at Freedom High School in Woodbridge. Patriot (2-2) is home next Friday against Osbourn Park.

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