Warriors’ defense strong in victory

By Eric Jones – ejones@journal-news.net

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. – Sherando football coach Bill Hall thought his team’s defensive efforts a week ago against Kettle Run was one of the best so far this season.

He also thought the Warriors could carry momentum from that performance into Friday night’s game against Jefferson.

They did.

In the win over Kettle Run, Sherando gave up only a second-quarter touchdown. It was much of the same against the Cougars, as the Warriors gave up just a first-quarter field goal in a 43-3 win over Jefferson.

“I thought we could feed off last week’s effort against good a Kettle Run team,” Hall said. “We did a great job defensively.”

As efficient as Sherando’s offense was at times, it still had a few hiccups here and there.

The Warriors’ defense, however, was on the mark throughout the game and essentially helped produce much of the offense by forcing Jefferson (3-2) into five turnovers.

“They were doing a lot of different things and shuffling several people in and out. It was just about recognition and then execution,” Hall said. “I thought we did a good job of recognizing at the line what they were going to do.”

Up 7-0, Sherando (4-1) got its first of four interceptions when Killian McPartland stepped in front of a pass by Jefferson quarterback Andrew King in the middle of the field and returned it all the way to the 1-yard line. George Aston punched it in on the next play, and after a successful two-point conversion, the Warriors went up 15-0.

Late in the second half, a fumble by the Cougars’ Isaac Myers put Sherando on the Jefferson 31. On the first play of the drive, Aston broke through the line and rumbled his way for a score, putting the Warriors up 22-3.

On the ensuing Jefferson possession, Aston intercepted his second pass. From there, starting at the Cougars’ 47, Sherando scored eight plays later. LeeQuan Johnson Jr. scored from six yards out and the Warriors held a 29-3 lead at the break.

Sherando scored two more touchdowns in the second half — one on a 26-yard pass from Reid Entsminger to Adam Whitacre and the other on a 1-yard run by Johnson.

The Jefferson defense, on the field for a big chunk of the game, was good at times and not so good at others.

It did force one turnover, an interception late in the first quarter.

“We would make a play, make a play, then give up a big play. We knew we had to get to the ball and make some plays,” Jefferson coach Craig Hunter said. “I thought they gave me everything, and I love the fight in this team.”

Jefferson’s offense didn’t help the defense out very much with its inability to sustain drives. The Cougars’ best drive came in the first quarter when they got deep in Sherando territory after a couple of big pass plays, including an 11-yard pass to Hunter Colbert, a 15-yard pass to Martinez Grant and a 13-yard throw to Zach Hostler.

However, the drive stalled, and Colbert kicked a 31-yard field goal for Jefferson’s only points.

“There were points in the game where we did move the ball, but like I said last week, you gotta take care of the football,” Hunter said. “You can’t give a team that many extra opportunities.”

Jefferson finished with just 110 yards of total offense — 50 rushing and 60 passing.

The Warriors had 284 offensive yards, including 106 from Entsminger through the air and game-high 72 rushing yards from Johnson.