By Tommy Keeler Jr.
QUICKSBURG -- It took Stonewall Jackson a few minutes to figure out how to beat Clarke County's defense, but once the Generals did they kept it going all game long.
Stonewall Jackson dominated play after the first 10 minutes en route to a 7-1 Conference 35 boys soccer semifinal victory over Clarke County on Tuesday night. The win clinches a 2A East berth for the Generals.
"It feels great. I don't think anyone on the team thought this would end this way," Stonewall Jackson coach Caleb Golladay said. "We played so well tonight. I was so proud of these guys and how they played. This is probably one of the best games we've had all season.
"We haven't had a great season. For us to be able to come in, and play the way they did and step up the way they did was great. It's amazing."
The Generals (12-6) had only one shot in the first 10 minutes of the game, and Golladay said Clarke County's defense had a lot to do with that. However, once they figured things out the Generals hit pay dirt time and time again.
"The first couple minutes they packed everywhere we were going to go. They crowded spaces. So, I really wasn't sure how it was going to go," Golladay said. "We got that first goal and just went from there. We found out how to beat their defense, and once we found out the key to beating them we just hit it all day long. We exposed their defense so well tonight."
Jonas Jacuinde got things started. He took a through ball from Roberto Cardoso and found himself one-on-one with Clarke County goalie Danny O'Donnell. Jacuinde faked out O'Donnell and hit a wide-open shot in the 14th minute of the first half.
"I saw Roberto have the ball, and I knew there was a gap right there. So I just went through it, and I just yelled out 'Roberto just hit me,'" Jacuinde said. "Once he sent it through, I knew I had the goal right there."
Just one minute later Jonas' brother Pedro would score the first of his three goals on the night. Pedro Jacuinde, a sophomore, was able to slip past the defense and get one-on-one with O'Donnell and scored to put the Generals up 2-0.
Pedro Jacuinde said he was surprised that he was able to get a hat trick.
"Having the hat trick and doing it in the conference tournament is pretty good," he said. "I never thought I'd come out here and score a hat trick. I thought I'd just get assists."
Through balls and speed were the keys to beating the Eagles' defense.
"They were playing a flat, where you just had to go from one side and just send it across, and you just beat them right there with the speed," Jonas Jacuinde said.
Cardoso added another goal on a free kick with around nine minutes left in the first half.
The barrage continued in the second half. Stonewall Jackson's Noe Ortiz added a goal just 11 minutes into the second half, and then Pedro Jacuinde scored back-to-back goals within four minutes of each other in the 23rd and 27th minutes of the second half. Cardoso added another goal with about three minutes left in the game.
Stonewall Jackson's defense also played stellar, including a nice save on a Clarke County penalty kick by Stonewall Jackson's Ryan Zerkel.
The Generals outshot the Eagles 19-8. Cardoso had two assist, Jesus Ortiz and Jonas Jacuinde each had one.
The start of the game was delayed by an hour due to weather delays. Jonas Jacuinde said that the team played with a sense of urgency, and played their best game of the season.
"Most of the starting lineup is seniors, and we just don't want to end the season right away," Jonas Jacuinde said. "We want to go back to states like we did last year."
The Generals will play either George Mason or Madison County in the Conference 35 final on Thursday. The George Mason-Madison County game was rained out on Tuesday and is scheduled to be played today.
George Mason beat the Generals last year in the Group A state final, and Jonas Jacuinde said the team would love to play them again.
"They're going to be a really good team," Jonas Jacuinde said. "We just have to play like today. It's going to be a really close game. It could come out either way. It's going to be 50/50 who's going to win the conference."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd