East Rockingham rolls through Stonewall Jackson

By Jim Laise – sports@nvdaily.com

QUICKSBURG – It could have been worse. Shenandoah District foe East Rockingham had three touchdowns come back by various means, but still put on a 49-0 drubbing of league last-place Stonewall Jackson on Friday night in a game that was shortened in the second half due to the mercy rule.

The rules order the game clock to run without stopping once one team leads by 35, which the Eagles did at halftime, 35-0. From there it was pretty much of a race to beat the rain that was falling at Homecoming on Stadium Field as the game was ending.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand what is going on here. I don’t pick the Homecoming opponent, but it would certainly make more sense to play a Page County in a game like this. We do get them at the end of the year for Seniors Night,” Stonewall coach Dick Krol said.

Page County is one team the Generals have beaten in the last two years, although they have triumphed in three games since 2012.

The loss to East Rockingham (2-1 Shenandoah, 5-1 overall) was the second straight in which Stonewall Jackson (0-3, 0-6) has been shut out. Wilson Memorial did the damage on the road last week, 62-0.

“There’s only so much you can do,” said Krol, whose team is literally outnumbered — sometimes 2-1 — by the numbers of players the visiting teams are bringing to the Generals’ home turf.

“We can’t schedule ‘Little Sisters of the Poor,’ so we take what we get,” Krol said.

Against East Rock, which dressed about 35 plays for this game, Krol’s short stick amounted to 19 players in uniform, with injuries before the game to senior linemen Chance Stroop and Fred Livermore.

“We just don’t have the people right now,” Krol said. “It’s as simple as that.”

East Rockingham was coming off an emotional 28-7 loss to then-unbeaten Riverheads, and was probably looking for revenge after the Eagles fell from the unbeaten ranks.

The Generals were the target.

The visitors scored seven points in the first quarter, 35 in the second and another touchdown in the third.

The Eagles defense held Stonewall Jackson to just two total yards in the first half and 55 yards for the whole game.

Iron man running back Derrick Smith, who had carried 72 times for 572 yards (7.9 rushing average), was held to 19 yards on 14 carries. The Stonewall senior ended up punting seven times for about a 27-yard average.

“He’s a good coach. He’s just fighting a numbers game right now,” said East Rockingham coach Donnie Coleman. “We went through this in 2010, we were 3-7. He’s just up against it.”

On the first offensive possession of the game, Stonewall watched as senior Jacob Murphy fumbled away a ball recovered by East Rock’s Raymond Simpson at the Generals’ 11.

On the next play, quarterback Jaylen McNair pitched the ball to running back Jerrick Diehl, who carried in for the touchdown from that distance. Logan Comer was good on the first of seven consecutive extra points.

The next time the Eagles got the ball back — still in the first quarter — they moved from their own 31 to a yard or two shy of the Generals’ goal line. The home team rose up and stopped their fourth down try.

“We did some good things in the beginning,” Krol said. “That’s the heck of it. We’re doing some things, but they aren’t showing up on the scoreboard.”