Generals fall to McCluer
QUICKSBURG – Stonewall Jackson overcame some early offensive miscues, but it was not enough Friday night as Group A power Parry McCluer worked out a 34-12 victory in a non-district game.
The score was 21-12 in favor of the Fighting Blues in the fourth quarter.
The Generals (0-3) enjoyed season highs in rushing, passing and total offense, but failed to cash in scoring opportunities when they had them and the visitors waltzed away with their second victory against two losses by compiling 20 points in the fourth quarter.
“We dropped some passes and they had some big plays. That’s what’s hurt us this year-giving up big plays. Their running backs hurt us,” said Stonewall coach Jay Goode.
Junior running back K.J. Cook rushed 31 times for 205 yards and two touchdowns and backfield mate Marcellus Dawson, a freshman, chipped in with 64 yards and a score on 15 totes to lead the effort.
Still, had the Generals converted some early opportunities, it may have been a different outcome.
“We played hard. We had some early turnovers, but certainly our tackling was better,” said Goode.
Stonewall senior quarterback Nathan Miller completed 5-of-10 throws with an interception. Those throws were good for 107 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, the team rushed 30 times for 94 yards.
The 201 yards of total offense were certainly better than the 108 the Generals registered over a week ago against Central in a 30-0 defeat and the 51 that came against Strasburg (29-6) in the season opener.
“This is the first time we’ve played them, but we’ve scrimmaged them the last six years and I can certainly say they’re better,” said McCluer head coach Mike Craft. “I told the coach that after the game.”
The Generals started off with two fine plays from the defense.
First, with Parry McCluer on Stonewall’s 10, defender Kyle Cowart broke through and sacked quarterback Cameron Wheeler for a 10-yard loss on fourth down. The ball returned to the home team.
Then, on the Fighting Blues’ next possession, Dawson fumbled the ball back to Stonewall Jackson on the home team’s 27. The Generals moved just a yard and had to punt.
After McCluer scored the game’s first touchdown with 8:45 showing in the half, Stonewall drove the ball from its own 32 to the Blues’ 12 before fumbling.
The Blues had enjoyed good field position. On back-to-back possessions, the visitors started drives on the Generals’ 27 and 38.
Craft decided to keep the ball on the ground on that second possession.
With Cook doing most of the damage, McCluer earned two first downs rushing. Wheeler carried over from the 1.
Stonewall’s offense started with a vengeance in the second half. With Ryan Summers doing much of the work, the Generals moved the ball to the 10. But, on fourth down, Miller’s pass was batted down in the end zone.
Then, it was up to Dawson, who cracked the middle of the line enroute to a 36-yard touchdown dash. He carried over for the 2-point conversion and a 14-0 lead with 2:40 showing in the third quarter
After a Parry McCluer interception on Stonewall’s next possession, the Blues scored again. With the ball at the Generals’ 28, they knocked off two first downs until Cook scored from the 4.
But after a holding call, the left-handed Miller dropped back and found Michael Knauff down the left sideline for a 68-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion failed. The score was 21-6.
On the night, Knauff caught three passes for 95 yards.
Parry McCluer punted back to the home team and Miller orchestrated a 69-yard touchdown drive. He found Knauff near midfield with a 19-yard pass and then went to Chris Williams for an 18-yard gain.
A roughing the passer penalty and a personal foul flag against Parry McCluer gave the Generals the ball at the 7. Miller carried in for the score with 4:32.
Stonewall Jacksaon attempted an onside kick, which Parry McCluer recovered. The Blues stayed on the ground from there and Cook scored from the 4. Peduto kicked the extra point for a 28-12 lead with 1:47 remaining.
McCluer concluded its scoring when Josh Sears ran in a fumble after Miller was sacked with just a second left. The kick failed.
The Fighting Blues have won 22 games the last two years. In their opener, they dropped Group 3A Rockbridge County. Stonewall is a 2A school.
“We like to load up our schedule with bigger schools at the beginning of the year,” said Craft.
“We’re going to get better. I can tell you that. We’re not in it for moral victories, you can print that in headlines. These kids have worked hard since the season started. I can’t be critical of that, but we’ve got to find a way to win the games,” said Goode.
“Offense, defense, we’re definitely getting better,” said Miller.
“It’s just a whole new attitude,” added Summers
Fighting Blues 34, Generals 12
Parry McCluer 0 6 8 20-34
Stonewall Jackson 0 0 0 12-12
PM: Wheeler 1 run, PAT failed 8:45 6-0
PM: Dawson 46 run, 2-point conversion 2:44 14-0
PM: Cook 4 run, Peduto kick 11:28 21-0
SJ: Knauff 68 pass from Miller, 2-point conversion failed 21-6
SJ: Miller 7 run, 2-point conversion failed 4:32 21-12
PM: Cook 4 run, Peduto kick 1:43 28-12
PM: Sears 28 fumble recovery, kick failed :01 34-12
First Downs 14 9
Rushes-yards 22-227 30-94
Passing yards 41 107
Punts-avg. 2-30 4-26
Fumbles/lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-yards 5-27 4-30
RUSHING-Parry McCluer, Cook 31-205, Dawson 15-64; Stonewall Jackson, Miller 17-54, Cowart 3-20
PASSING-Parry McCluer, Wheeler 2-4, 40; Stonewall Jackson, Miller 5-10-1-1, 107
RECEIVING-Parry McCluer, Cook 1-28; Stonewall Jackson, Knauff 3-95