Smith runs wild in Generals’ home loss

By Jim Laise – sports@nvdaily.com

QUICKSBURG — Stuarts Draft overcame a big night for Stonewall Jackson running back Derrick Smith on Friday in Shenandoah District play, dropping the winless Generals 35-20.

It was enough to thwart Smith’s massive effort, although he had one of the great nights in Stonewall Jackson history.

The 5-foot-9, 187-pound senior rushed 19 times for 235 yards and all three Generals scores. He also punted five times for a 30-yard average. He even recovered a fumble late that would have helped Stonewall pull closer in the fourth, but the effort was rubbed out by a Generals turnover.

And to think, he did much of the work with a sore right ankle, which he injured during the game.

“You don’t have to worry about Derrick. He’s a tough kid,” said Stonewall coach Dick Krol, whose team dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in Shenandoah District play.

Smith twisted his ankle in the first half, but played off-and-on through the middle of the game and then came on strong at the end.

“They blocked for me extremely well tonight, but we couldn’t capitalize on some things and they wore us down,” said Smith.

Smith carried for 33 yards and his last touchdown of the night with 2:24 remaining, though the try for the extra point failed.

Stuarts Draft (2-2, 1-0 Shenandoah) got the ball back, but Izzy Johnson (15 carries, 124 yards, two touchdowns) fumbled it away. Smith was there to fall on it and the Generals had new life with 1:53 showing.

Unfortunately for the Generals, Jonathan White intercepted SJ quarterback Nathan Miller near midfield. Cougars coach Nathan Floyd chose to run out the clock.

“We came out with a little more purpose in the second half, and I think we were ready to play a little better,” Floyd said.

From 9:13 remaining in the second quarter to the 9:43 mark of the third quarter, Stonewall, which had scored just 14 points in its first three games, was on top of the visitors from Augusta County.

Stuarts Draft opened the night’s scoring in the first quarter. On its first possession, Stonewall fumbled the ball at the Draft 39 and the Cougars went to work.

Johnson scored the game’s first touchdown from five yards out and Jacob Wyrick connected on the extra point for a 7-0 Cougars lead with 5:29 left in the first quarter.

But Stonewall answered on its first possession of the second quarter. Smith’s 15-yard run to the Stuarts Draft 37 was the big play in a 67-yard march. Smith finished it off with a 26-yard TD with 9:13 left in the second.

Smith looked like he was going off tackle, but after dipping toward the line of scrimmage, he blew outside the rest of the way for the score. Quarterback Nathan Miller carried over for the extra two points.

Stonewall had an 8-7 lead in the second quarter. It was the first time the Generals had been ahead of an opponent this season.

The Generals had already stopped one fourth-and-short situation by Stuarts Draft, and when Cougars kicker Wyrick’s 24-yard field goal attempt failed, the Stonewall fans were on their feet.

With 9:43 remaining in the third, Stuarts Draft got the lead again. This time the Cougars would not relinquish it.

Johnson, a 5-5, 171-pound sophomore, took a big dent out of the Stonewall defense by hustling for a 16 yards along the way and an encroachment penalty on Stonewall Jackson kept the drive going. Fullback John-Mark Burnett rounded his left end for a 75-yard scoring sprint and Wyrick’s hit the extra point to push the lead to 13-7.

Stuarts Draft scored on its next possession and seemed to be wearing out the depth-depleted Stonewall roster. Again Johnson led the charge. His 16-yard blast was the big gainer in a 68-yard drive.

Stuarts Draft quarterback C.J. Dameron (5-for-9 passing for 98 yards) found sophomore Carson Peck for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 8:21 remaining in the third quarter.

Stonewall Jackson fumbled a punt deep in its territory in the fourth quarter. Stuarts Draft recovered and the Cougars’ Derek Patton had only five yards to go for the score that put the Cougars up 28-8 with 6:29 remaining.

Stuarts Draft had scored 21 straight points with an answer from Stonewall.

But Smith was not done. After consecutive penalties against his teammates, he blasted 82 yards for a touchdown, but the two-point try failed. The score was 28-14 with 5:50 showing.

The Cougars traded a touchdown. A long run by Patton (7 carries, 65 yards) set up a 2-yard score by Johnson. Wyrick’s kick made it 35-14.

Smith’s 33-yard burst was the final touchdown for either team. The two-point conversion failed.

The senior wore no shoe or sock on the right ankle after the game, but there was no ice or boot on it.

“Don’t worry about him, he’ll be all right,” Krol said.

Krol was disappointed with the outcome, to a degree.

“We started off really well and we had some energy,” Krol said. “I don’t know. When a team gets used to losing, maybe when they’re on top, they get a little cocky. Maybe that’s what happened to us.”

“I don’t know about cocky,” said. “Certainly with our record, we don’t have anything to be cocky about.”