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By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
QUICKSBURG -- After suffering a disappointing loss last week, Clarke County wanted to make sure to get back on the winning track this week.
It didn't come easily for the Eagles, but they managed to pull out an 18-8 victory over Stonewall Jackson on Friday night.
The Eagles lost to Warren County, 29-0, last week and it left a bitter taste in their mouths.
"We were motivated all week," Clarke County's Davey Hardesty said. "We really wanted to turn it around. We didn't want to get beat two times [in a row]."
Things weren't looking good for the Eagles early in the game. After Clarke County was forced to punt on its opening drive, Stonewall Jackson put together its best drive of the game.
]The Generals went 97 yards on 18 plays, all but one of which was a running play.
Stonewall Jackson used up 9:27 of the clock, and capped it off with a 2-yard touchdown run by Jared Getz with 9:37 left in the first half. A two-point conversion run by Anthony Peacher gave the Generals an 8-0 lead.
"That was a nice drive, and we felt pretty good about it," Stonewall Jackson coach Dick Krol said.
The lead was short-lived for the Generals. Clarke County came right back on its next drive to even things up.
The Eagles (2-1) used six straight running plays to move the ball to the Stonewall Jackson 25. With the Generals (1-2) expecting another run, Clarke County's Drew Paice found a wide-open Hardesty for a touchdown pass with 5:29 left in the first half. A two-point conversion run by Jesse Smoot tied the game.
"Drew [Paice] just stepped up and made a big pass," Hardesty said of his touchdown reception. "It seemed like every time we needed a big play, we came through."
The Generals had another stellar drive going to start the second half. Stonewall Jackson used nine plays to move the ball to the Clarke County 22. Facing a fourth-and-1 from the Clarke County 22, the Generals went for it. However, Clarke County stuffed Stonewall Jackson's Trevor Warner for a two-yard loss, turning the ball over to the Eagles.
"That was a huge stop for us on defense," Clarke County coach Chris Parker said.
"We had another nice drive going, and then we just blew it," Krol said.
Two possessions later, the Eagles offense finally kicked into gear. Clarke County used 10 plays on a 54-yard drive to take the lead.
The key play of the drive came on a second-and-26 from the Stonewall Jackson 44. Paice saw a hole and ran 23 yards to the Generals' 21. Krol said the Generals only had 10 players on the field for the play, which aided in the big run.
Five plays later, Hardesty ran it in from three yards out to give Clarke County a 15-8 lead with 9:22 left in the game.
Stonewall Jackson tried to mount one last drive to tie or take the lead. The Generals used six plays to move the ball to the Stonewall Jackson 42. On the next play, Stonewall Jackson quarterback John-Michael Pirtle was hit and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Clarke County's Alex Sefton.
Four plays later, Connor Shendow hit a 37-yard field goal to put the game out of reach.
"It was a heck of a football game," Krol said. "We made some good plays, and then we would turn around and make some stupid plays."
It was the second straight game in which the Eagles' usually high-powered offense was held in check. Parker said the team clearly has some things it needs to work on, but he was still very happy to get the win.
"I think we did what we had to do to win," Parker said.