By Stephen Boyle -- firstname.lastname@example.org
BERRYVILLE -- Clarke County ran all over Stonewall Jackson to come up with a 35-7 win on Friday night.
The Eagles' only two punts came late in the fourth quarter with the game already in control. The Generals' loss, which drops them to 0-3 this season, was tough one for Coach Dick Krol to swallow.
"Probably the only positive was Juan Luna's kicking," said Krol, referring to his senior punter who had four punts for 184 yards, including a 51-yard kick.
Stonewall Jackson struggled on both sides of the football and could not stop Clarke County's rushing attack. Davey Hardesty rushed for 179 yards on 23 carries and found the end zone three times.
"We practiced hitting out blocks all week," said quarterback Sean McDonald, who added 92 rushing yards and a touchdown to the Eagles' effort. "It wasn't really hard following the blocks."
Clarke County's offensive line was a big reason for the rushing explosion. They also helped spring senior Nick Helmut for 57 yards of his own. The team finished the game with 342 total rushing yards.
In the first half, the Eagles drove the ball down the field methodically and scored on a 12-play, 69-yard drive to take an early 7-0 lead. Macson McGuigan, an Eagles soccer player, made his football debut Friday and notched his first point on the gridiron on the point-after kick.
In the second quarter, Clarke County made it 15-0 after another long drive, this one going 79 yards on 15 plays. Hardesty punched in a short touchdown run and a bad snap forced McDonald to run in a two-point conversion.
Following the touchdown, a fumbled snap by Stonewall Jackson quarterback Jacob Armell gave the Eagles the ball on the Generals' 47-yard line. Hardesty finished off the drive with his second short touchdown run of the game, but a blocked extra-point attempt made the score 21-0.
Stonewall would not be shut out at halftime. A long return stopped short of the end zone only by kicker Macson McGuigan set up a 38-yard pass from Armell to Patrick Kerlin gave the Generals the ball on the 2-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the half. Kerlin hauled in the ball with one hand and fell just short of the goal line. Although Stonewall did eventually punch it in on a Jared Getz run, coach Krol didn't see the drive as a positive.
"That was just a simple pass play," he said. "We didn't expect to get it. It was just a great catch by Kerlin."
Clarke County coach Chris Parker was happy with the score at halftime, but felt like his squad was capable of better. He challenged his team in the locker room and, according to Parker, it worked.
"I thought our guys rose to the occasion," he said.
On the Eagles' third offensive play of the second half, Davey Hardesty broke a run between the tackles for 76 yards. He probably could have gone further, but he ran into the end zone with no defenders near catching him to make the score 28-7, after another McGuigan extra point.
Another Stonewall fumble, the Generals' third of their seven fumbles in the game, led to a McDonald touchdown to make it 35-7 and then Parker elected to play his back-ups. The win improved Clarke County to 2-1 this season.