By Brad Fauber
QUICKSBURG -- It may be an understatement to say that Stonewall Jackson has struggled to be competitive early in the high school football season, and things didn't get much better in Friday night's nondistrict game against visiting Clarke County.
The Eagles overwhelmed a physically overmatched Generals squad, ripping off 455 total yards of offense to hand Stonewall a 47-6 loss.
The Generals, who have been outscored by a total of 142-22 in three games this season, mustered just 132 total yards in Friday's rout, and their lone touchdown came against Clarke County's second-team defense in the late fourth quarter.
"We did some things right, even against the first team we did some things right. We just couldn't put it together long enough to make it stand up," Generals coach Dick Krol said. "We made a mistake, an interception, fumbles ... we just made mistakes. We're getting better, but we've still got a heck of a long way to go."
Stonewall (0-3) did manage to move the football at times in its new flexbone offense, but the Generals committed costly mistakes that derailed some of its drives.
The Generals' opening drive of the game started promising enough, as quarterback Daniel Buhl burst through the middle of Clarke County's defense for 26-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage to put Stonewall at its own 45-yard line. But things unraveled for the Generals in a hurry.
Facing a third-and-10, Stonewall tried to set up a screen pass to running back Joseph McCabe, but Buhl's pass was jumped by Clarke County linebacker Carson Perkins, who picked it off and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown.
"[Assistant coach Casey] Childs just told me to bump out a little, so I bumped out. I saw the fullback roll out ... I was feeling really confident in my hands. I just read it well and took it to the house," Perkins said.
Stonewall went three-and-out on its next possession, and a 20-yard punt gave the Eagles (2-0) excellent field position at the Generals' 47.
On Clarke County's first offensive play of the game, senior running back Josh Dulaney took a direct snap and scampered untouched to the end zone for a 47-yard score to put the Eagles up 14-0 with 7:58 left in the first quarter.
"The blocking was wonderful. I followed [quarterback] Kasey Lake and he led me. All I had to do was run," Dulaney said. "I just come out and try to do the best I can. I'm trying to make big plays."
Unfortunately for Stonewall, Dulaney was just getting started. In the second quarter, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior ripped off touchdown runs of 41 and 40 yards on back-to-back possessions to give Clarke County a comfortable 27-0 lead with 2:37 left in the first half.
Dulaney finished with 205 yards on just 11 carries. Clarke County, as a team, ran for 404 yards on 38 attempts.
"What really upsets me more than anything is how many long touchdowns they got. If they have to work for it, I have no problem. But they didn't have to work for it," Krol said. "We just make dumb mistakes, foolish mistakes, and I guess some of that goes to our lack of physical size and ability. But gosh bless it's frustrating. We've got some good kids working hard, you just wish something could've fallen their way."
Stonewall Jackson lost its second fumble of the half immediately following Dulaney's third touchdown run, and the Eagles cashed in on a one-yard run by senior Wayne Rouss to take a 34-0 lead going into halftime.
Clarke County opened the third quarter with a 12-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown run by Lake, who was filling in at quarterback for junior Sean McDonald, who was in street clothes and didn't play on Friday night.
The Eagles had touchdown runs of 62 and 68 yards called back on the drive by penalties. Clarke County committed 11 penalties for 80 yards in the game, which was about the only negative aspect of the Eagles' performance.
Clarke County scored late in the third quarter on a 51-yard run by junior Steven Walker, and Stonewall finally got on the board with 4:39 remaining in the game when Buhl (73 yards on 17 carries) punched it in from three yards out to cap a 13-play, 55-yard drive.
"We have an open week next and we'll go back to basics," Krol said. "Tonight we had a couple kids that really played with intensity, but it's not 11 people strong. Especially with our size and everything else, if we're not intense, we're dead. We just have to get intense."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD