QUICKSBURG — Justus Proctor almost didn’t go out for the football team this season. Stonewall Jackson’s football team is thankful he decided to play.
The senior wide receiver/linebacker has had a big season for the Generals, leading the team in receptions and second on the team in tackles.
“I almost didn’t play this year because of (wanting to participate in) other sports,” Proctor said. “But I still decided I would step it up and play this year. It’s my last year.”
Proctor said his first name is Griffin, but ever since he was a kid most people call him by his middle name — Justus.
He said that he didn’t start playing football until he was 12, but once he did, he fell in love with the game.
“I love having a family and playing with your brothers,” Proctor said. “Knowing that somebody has your back and you have their back.”
The 6-foot, 177-pound Proctor said he was moved up to the varsity level as a freshman but didn’t play much. As a sophomore he was mostly used on special teams.
Last year, Proctor played on both sides of the ball. He played at linebacker and defensive end on defense and at wide receiver on offense.
“I prefer defense because that’s where the real football players are,” Proctor said with a smile.
Proctor had four receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown last season for the Generals.
Proctor, who also plays basketball and baseball, said that he worked harder in the offseason than he has in the past and it’s really paid off. He said he’s taken a weight training class at school, which has helped him get stronger.
This season Proctor has been making plays all over the field for the Generals on both sides of the ball.
Stonewall Jackson head football coach Pete Lampman said that Proctor has been a pleasant surprise for the team this season.
“We knew he had the potential, because he’s a helluva athlete,” Lampman said. “He never quite reached it. And this year it just popped up and he just started playing well. In the scrimmages you noticed it and in the practices you noticed it. And all of a sudden in the games — he’s just doing a helluva job.”
Offensively, Proctor has three catches for 95 yards and one touchdown in the run-heavy triple-option offense that the Generals use.
Defensively, Proctor has 25 tackles, one sack and one interception. Proctor’s interception came against Rappahannock County and set-up a big catch by him that led to a touchdown in the team’s only victory.
Lampman said Proctor is reliable and consistent and wants to get better.
“He’s one of the better athletes on the team,” Lampman said. “He generally is where he needs to be. He follows directions. He’s where he needs to be most of the time. And when he goes to make a tackle, he makes a tackle. And when he goes to catch the ball, he catches the ball. He’s very coachable.”
Proctor said he has been more aggressive on both offense and defense this year and that’s helped him a lot.
Lampman said that Proctor is quiet but is a leader by example for the team.
Proctor said that the seniors have tried to step up and lead the team this season as much as possible.
“We had a lot of seniors last year and they would say the same things,” Proctor said. “Since they are gone, nobody really says anything. So some of us have to step up and that’s changed a lot of people’s attitudes and we might eventually have a winning attitude and change the record.”
The Generals (1-4, 1-1 Bull Run District) lost 41 straight games until defeating Rappahannock County, 31-0, on Sept. 27. Proctor said it was a special moment for the team and they would like to get more wins. Stonewall Jackson hosts winless Madison County on Friday.
“I had so many people say congratulations, it was nice,” Proctor said of the Generals’ win. “Having the student section come out (onto the field after the game) — that was pretty cool. And I didn’t cry like other people on the team but I was happy. I was like ‘dang this felt good.’ I want to get another one.”