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Warwick was ready to make history against Hampton
To put it all in perspective …
It was the same year that LBJ singed the Voting Rights Act, the Beatles released "Help!" and Muhammad Ali flattened Sonny Liston (the second time). The Daily Press cost a nickel, and the front-page headline that day said the Vietnam conflict was seeing signs of progress.
It was 1965. It was the last time Warwick had beaten Hampton in football … until Thursday night.
"Oh, they knew how long it had been," Raiders coach Juan Jackson said a day after his team's 24-21 stunner at Darling Stadium. "We preached to them all week how long it had been. So, yes, they were aware.
"Most of them said to me, 'Coach, my parents weren't even born yet.' And I said, 'Guess what? I wasn't, either.' "
Neither the VHSL nor the National Federation of State High School Associations keeps records for the longest streaks by one team against another. But it's hard to imagine there have been many that match this one.
In college football, the longest such streak was also 43 games — Notre Dame over Navy. That was broken in 2007, when Navy won in South Bend. The longest streak in ACC history — and the fifth-largest overall — was Clemson's 29-game run over Virginia. That ended in 1990.
"My birthday is (Tuesday), and this was an early birthday present," said Jackson, who will turn 43. "We certainly made history. We went to the chapel at 2:30 and had our pregame meal at 3.
"After that, we asked them, 'Are you ready to make history?' If you follow the game plan and play mistake-free football, you can."
Warwick (2-3, 2-2 Peninsula District) pretty much did. The Raiders lost a fumble but had only four penalties. They led 14-0 in the second quarter and 24-7 with 5:15 remaining in the game.
Then things got interesting. Hampton needed only 3:13 to cover 80 yards for a touchdown. Warwick then picked a terrible time for its only turnover, and the Crabbers had the ball at the Raider 48 with 1:17 left.
Quarterback David Watford's touchdown pass to Jason Manago made it 24-21 with 19 seconds left. But an onside-kick attempt bounced out of bounds, and Raiders quarterback Lamonte' Williams took a knee to run out the clock.
"We capitalized on the mistakes Hampton made," Jackson said. "Usually Hampton makes you make mistakes, but we were able to do that to them. And when we got ahead, we forced them out of their game plan."
Hampton (3-2, 2-2) finds itself in a rare situation. The Crabbers will finish with at least two district losses for only the fifth time since 1977.
Warwick came into Thursday night's game having dropped three straight games and scored six points in its previous eight quarters. The return of tailback Courtney Hill, who scored the game's first touchdown on a 53-yard run, from an injury made a huge difference.
Now, the Raiders' postseason scenario in Division 5 looks considerably brighter. Especially given that they already have played Phoebus, Woodside and Hampton and have Gloucester and Heritage in the next two weeks.
Friday morning at the school was pretty festive. A congratulatory announcement was made and there was a parade down the hallway. But Jackson's message to his team was clear: Enjoy it, but move forward.
"One of the (assistants) asked me if I was going to give them today off, and I said no," Jackson said. "We have to go about business as usual. Enjoy it tonight but get back to business. We've slowly crept back into this. And we control our own destiny."