By Dennis Atwood - email@example.com
LURAY - The Stonewall Jackson Generals took the possibility of a goose-egg of a winless season and made a big omelet of it, dominating both sides of the line of scrimmage, for a 42-0 win over Page County in the Shenandoah District season finale for both teams.
It had been 25 years since a Stonewall Jackson team had a winless season.
The Panthers, with two wins overall, including one in the district, presented the best opportunity the Generals could hope for in trying to earn a win. The Panthers' sole district win was a 14-7 victory over Buffalo Gap.
Stonewall Jackson junior running back Derrick Smith rushed for four touchdowns (14, 3, 52, and 46 yards) among his 167 yards rushing on 21 carries (7.95 average).
Smith, who missed last weeks' game against Luray due to an ankle injury he suffered the week before, scored on a touchdown in the first quarter, two in the second frame, and one with 4:53 left in the game.
Smith's fourth scoring gallop came on the first play after Page County quarterback Adam Campbell turned the ball over on a fumble at the Generals' 46-yard line, one of three fumbles lost by the Panthers, who also had two passes intercepted and a muffed punt catch, for a total of six turnovers.
Stonewall Jackson senior Joseph McCabe scooped up a Panther fumble and lugged it 60 yards for a touchdown, at 9:46 in the third quarter.
The Generals committed only two turnovers.
"It's my career best for number of touchdowns," Smith said. "We told ourselves we had nothing to lose. We didn't want to finish the season without winning a game, so we gave it everything.
"On [the long runs], I had nice holes to run through, so it wasn't too hard. It feels good to get the first win, and go out with a bang."
Stonewall Jackson (1-9, 1-6 Shenandoah) senior quarterback Daniel Buhl rushed for 89 yards on eight carries and save his best for last, scampering 15 yards for a touchdown with 7:18 left on the game clock, to make it 36-0.
But Buhl wasn't done. In his defensive assignment, Buhl intercepted Campbell's final Hail Mary pass at the goal line as the clock expired, insuring that the goose egg would be hung on Page County (2-8, 1-6 Shenandoah).
"We played well in the first quarter and got off to a great start," Buhl said. "We had good motivation. We were ready to go and didn't want to look back. We played great team ball.
"The halftime talk was to not let up. They had come back on some pretty good teams. We didn't want that to happen to us, so we just put the pedal to the metal."
The Generals rushed for a team total 260 yards and limited the Panthers' ground game to a total of 116 yards.
Senior running back Allen Basnight was the workhorse for Page County, gaining 54 yards on 15 carries.
In the aerial attack, Campbell went 3-for-13, for 37 yards and two interceptions.
The Generals had a short roster with only 19 players suited up for the game, and will lose eight seniors to graduation.
"We didn't change [our usual] game plan, we just ran the offense a little better," Generals coach Dick Krol said. "Our defense was a lot better tonight than it has been. I assume that came from our seniors that play a lot. They realized this is the end of the road.
"It's better to finish on a positive note, than a negative note, especially considering the frustrating year we've had. We definitely came to play."