Generals roll to fifth straight tournament title
By Brad Fauber
QUICKSBURG — Shortly after Stonewall Jackson’s boys soccer team secured its fifth straight Shenandoah District tournament championship with a 5-0 romping of visiting Wilson Memorial on Thursday, the Generals gathered at midfield for a brief celebration with the championship trophy.
But soon after the huddled mass of red and white dissolved and the celebration ended, Stonewall senior David Dodson spoke four simple words that sum up the Generals’ attitude this season.
“We’re not done yet,” Dodson said.
Sure, the fifth straight district championship was nice, but the Generals have much bigger fish to fry, beginning when they host Bull Run District runner-up Clarke County in next Monday’s Region B quarterfinals.
If Thursday’s performance is any indication, the rest of the region had better look out for the determined Generals. The 5-0 win over the second-seeded Green Hornets completed a sizzling run through the district tournament for Stonewall, in which it outscored opponents by a combined score of 21-1 in three matches.
On Thursday Wilson Memorial put up little resistance, and Stonewall left no doubt as to who was the best team in the Shenandoah District this season.
“I think whatever team would’ve came to us today, I think we could have handled it well. The guys were extremely focused today before the game, in the locker room, out here on the field. That was the biggest thing I stressed — make sure you’re staying focused,” Generals first-year coach Caleb Golladay said. “Their biggest goal was to come out here and get the fifth district [title] in a row. For us to come out here and do that is almost unprecedented.”
Stonewall Jackson (19-0) wasted no time jumping on the Green Hornets (13-4), as senior forward Juan Luna received a beautiful cross by teammate Joe Livesay inside the penalty box, and Luna found the back of the net to give the Generals the lead just over five minutes into the match.
“Everybody is just thirsty to get goals. That center from Joe, I knew all the [defense] just wanted to do was block it so I just pumped them and then hit them with the left,” Luna said.
Lightning delayed the match for a half-hour just one minute after Luna’s goal, but that did little to cool down the red-hot Generals. Five minutes after play resumed, Stonewall junior Roberto Cardoso — who was named the district player of the year after the match — scored on a shot that was deflected twice by Wilson Memorial’s defense before sneaking over the goal line.
Dodson followed with a goal of his own on a header off a corner kick from teammate Ed Juarez in the 17th minute to give Stonewall a 3-0 lead.
“That was great cross by Ed. If [Luna] wouldn’t have slipped in front of me, then I think he would’ve gotten to that ball instead, but he didn’t and I managed to put it away,” Dodson said. “That was the first goal we’ve scored on a corner kick all year.”
Dodson scored again on an assist by Pedro Jacuinde just before the first half ended to give the Generals a four-goal lead going into halftime.
Stonewall’s offensive attack slowed somewhat in the second half as Golladay chose to give some of his starters extended periods of rest, but the Generals did manage a goal by Juarez with 20 minutes remaining.
Stonewall held a 20-5 shot advantage in the match, and Generals goalkeeper Ryan Zerkel had three saves.
The Generals will now look to reverse what has been a negative trend over the past several years, as they haven’t been able to escape the first round of the regional tournament.
“We have to go out here and we have to play the game of our lives Monday, nothing less than that. If we don’t play the game of our lives, we’ll be going home again just like the last four or five years,” Dodson said. “It’s the most important game of the season and that’s all we’re looking forward to right now.”
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org