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By Brad Fauber - firstname.lastname@example.org
QUICKSBURG -- Stonewall Jackson used a key goal-line stand and an unrelenting rushing attack to out-muscle the visiting Buffalo Gap Bison 14-6 in Friday's Shenandoah District showdown.
Down 14-6 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Bison (3-2, 1-1 Shenandoah District) took over from their own 26-yard line after a Generals punt, and used eight plays to get inside the Generals' 10. However, Stonewall Jackson's defense stepped up when it needed to and kept Buffalo Gap out of the end zone.
On a fourth-and-goal from the Stonewall 5, a pass from Bison quarterback Trevor Campbell fell incomplete in the end zone with six minutes left in the game, giving the Generals the ball and the momentum.
"That was huge, that changed the game without a doubt," said Generals quarterback John-Michael Pirtle. "That one score could've made a difference.
"But, you have that touchdown leeway there, there's just something mental about it."
With the ball on their own 5, the Generals were still in danger of letting Buffalo Gap back into it with a turnover or safety. But the offensive line opened a huge hole for senior Matthew McCampbell, who took the handoff from Pirtle after a fake to the fullback and sprinted 60 yards to the Bison 31-yard line.
"Our line did a tremendous job -- and that shows to our ability to fake the ball and set up plays," Pirtle said of the run. "[McCampbell] took that seam, didn't wait on it and didn't dance around -- he just took it and went."
The Generals (3-2, 2-0 Shenandoah District) were unable to close the drive with points, but they did drain four minutes off the clock, leaving the Bison with just over two minutes to go 84 yards for the potential game-tying touchdown.
The Generals' defense was unwilling to let that happen, and a huge sack by sophomore Patrick Kerlin set up a fourth-and-15 that the Bison failed to convert with 20 seconds left in the game.
"They [Buffalo Gap] are tough, hard kids. It was a hard-fought game -- it was a good game, and I'm glad we won it," said Generals coach Dick Krol. "Against Strasburg we gave it up, against Clarke [County] we gave it up -- at least this time we stepped forward and did something."
The Generals got on the board first after a 13-play drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Jared Getz just seconds into the second quarter to give them a 6-0 lead.
Buffalo Gap responded with a 6-yard touchdown run of its own when a muffed punt by Stonewall's Trevor Warner gave the Bison the ball at the Generals' 11-yard line, but the extra point attempt was blocked to keep the game locked at 6-6.
"Give them [Stonewall] all the credit in the world, they came out and kind of smacked us around a little bit," said Bison coach Andy Cline. "I thought we missed some opportunities, we had a couple chances. We were down kind of deep and just kind of fizzled a little bit."
The Generals opened the third quarter with an eight play, 64-yard drive that ended in a 4-yard touchdown run by McCampbell, who finished with 121 yards and a touchdown on just four carries. A successful two-point conversion gave the Generals a 14-6 lead.
"That was money metal, being able to take that ball and score like that after halftime when we were tied -- it's anybody's game at that point," Pirtle said. "You win the second half and you win the game, and that's what we did."