Bonfire helps create unity for Generals

Stonewall Jackson's new head coach Jay Goode works players during a recent practice. Rich Cooley/Daily

QUICKSBURG – First-year head football coach Jay Goode has brought a few changes with him to Stonewall Jackson and one of them happened last week. The Generals had a bonfire last Friday to help bring the team and the community together.

Goode said that many people helped with the bonfire, which he said was his wife Karen’s idea.

“We invited the cheerleaders, the band, the varsity and JV teams and all the rec teams and the rec cheerleaders,” Goode said. “We had a potluck meal, and we had the team talk and introduce everybody and had the bonfire.”

Goode said he also had a lot of help from parents and people in the community in putting it together. He said he took the idea to Stonewall Jackson Principal Mike Dorman and athletic director Todd Fannin and they were both all for it.

He said there were about 300-350 people at the bonfire.

“It was a lot of fun. Just to get everybody together, kind of get the community going,” Goode said. “The rec leagues — I want them to start feeling a part of the team, because they’re going to be up here in a few years. … It’s good for our players to meet the little kids. It was a just a good unity night there. We had a lot of fun. Hopefully we can try it again next year.”

Stonewall Jackson senior Michael Knauff said it was a really good experience and it went really well.

“It just shows how much this community and this little area in Shenandoah County wants the football team to do well,” Knauff said. “They’ve got our backs and we really appreciate that they came out and supported us like that.”

SHOWING IMPROVEMENT: Goode said that the Generals looked better in their second scrimmage against Nelson County last week than in their first scrimmage with Pendleton County the week before.

“Defensively, we played real well there,” Goode said. “I thought we got around the ball. We tackled better. … Offensively, I thought our passing game was a little better than it was the week before, and we ran the ball a little better.”

The Generals are coming off back-to-back one-win seasons, and have a lot of new faces out on the team this year.

Goode said that his big goal for the team is just to keep getting better.

“Like I told everybody, we just want to keep improving every practice, scrimmage, game,” Goode said. “We’ve improved a lot. I saw a lot of good things.”

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: After almost not being able to field a team last year, the Generals have 36 players on the varsity squad this season.

The increase in numbers gives the Generals a lot more depth, which should be a real positive for the team this year.

“I think we have depth in about every position,” Goode said. “That’s what we want. If somebody gets injured we want to be able to put someone else in there and not drop off a whole lot.”

That depth has helped create some position battles, which are going down to the wire. Goode said there are still some battles for starting spots going on this week on the offensive line and at linebacker.

Stonewall Jackson hosts Strasburg on Friday in the season opener for both teams at 7 p.m.

“We’ll see what happens this week, and that will determine who will start for the first game,” Goode said.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com