Stuarts Draft blanks Stonewall
QUICKSBURG – Last season, Stuarts Draft scored the first four times it had the ball enroute to an easy 47-0 victory over Stonewall Jackson’s football team.
Friday the team scored the first four times it had the ball to open a 27-0 halftime lead – which it maintained until the end. But the Generals still managed to pull together in the second half to prevent a greater loss.
The beleaguered Generals had been allowing multiple points per game in its opening four losses, but tightened its defense in Friday’s second half.
The Generals forced two punts and recovered two fumbles in slowing down the vaunted Cougar offense, itself averaging about 35 points per game.
A year ago, Cougar tailback Izzy Johnson rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He accomplished 87 yards and two rushing touchdowns in Friday’s first half and finished with 95 in total rushing.
True, Stuarts Draft head coach Nathan Floyd substituted liberally in the second 24 minutes, but still Stonewall punter Christopher Williams (six punts, 26-yard average) and the black-clad defenders bottled up the visitors after halftime.
“We played hard, but we just made too many simple mistakes, particularly on drives – one thing or another – or lining up for a punt and somebody’s out of place,” said Stonewall coach Jay Goode.
“I think it was a much better defensive effort than last week,” said Stonewall two-way lineman Cody Baker. “Our defense played hard and we were excited. I love to play in the mud.”
There was plenty of that. A steady rained poured intermittently throughout the game, though things cleared up in the fourth quarter.
The visitors (5-0, 2-0) scored the first four times they had the ball enroute to the four-touchdown victory.
Like last season, running back Johnson had plenty of help.
Teammate Robert Peck, for instance, scored a touchdown receiving and another one on a punt return. He also intercepted Stonewall quarterback Richie Logan once.
Xzavier Gunn rushed eight times for 60 yards and quarterback Garrett Campbell tossed a touchdown pass.
The Cougar defense held the Generals to 50 yards rushing on 33 carries and 46 total yards (a Stonewall pass lost four yards).
Draft rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
Meanwhile, Stonewall had 12 total yards rushing in half one. The Generals had to punt three times.
In their first four games, the Generals are averaging almost 8 points compared to almost 35 for the opposition.
The visiting Cougars were rolling along averaging 30.5 points in their first five games compared to about 8 per opponent.
The Generals have been attempting to play the last three games without regular quarterback Brendan Hoover and running back John Howdyshell due to injuries. This night, they were also missing linemen Kyle Bushong and Devin Campbell, who were being held out due to concussion protocol.
With Hoover and Howdyshell in action, Stonewall competed with Strasburg and Central – in each first half – but since the injuries have piled up, so have the points against the Generals.
“The injuries have really taken their toll. We’re playing some young guys out there. We’ve just got to keep plugging,” said Goode.
These visitors are not only undefeated, they were tied with both Riverheads and Buffalo Gap (who were postponed due to inclement weather), who stand 1-0 in the Shenandoah District.
The Cougars also were tied with Buffalo Gap first place in the 2A East football power rankings, with a score of 21.5.
On its very first play from scrimmage, Stuarts Draft’s Johnson bolted 63 yards for the touchdown. The kick was good and the Cougars led 7-0 on a rainy night.
It was Johnson again crushing over from the 5-yard-line for the next score. It was 13-0, Cougars, with 2:13 left in the first quarter.
Stuarts Draft scored the third time it touched the ball; this one went through the air.
Quarterback Campbell hit Peck on a 19-yard fade for the touchdown. The kick was good and the Cougars led 20-0 with 4:59 left in the first half.
They had more first downs (7-1) over the Generals who touched the ball for the first time in the second quarter with less than five minutes showing.
Stuarts Draft had scored twice on the ground, one via the air and Peck scored his second 6-pointer of the half on a punt return. It was an 82-yarder and the kick was good. As the skies opened, the Cougars controlled things, 27-0, with 1:19 left in the half.
Then came the final 24 minutes and the big goose-egg on the Stuarts Draft scoreboard for the final two quarters.
“We’ve just got to take something from this game and move on,” said Baker.
Unlike a week ago, when the Generals turned the ball over five times and collected multiple penalties, the returns were better against Stuarts Draft: just one lost fumble and only 10 yards of miscues.
Cougars 27, Generals 0
SD: Johnson 63 run, kick good
SD: Johnson 5 run, conversion failed
SD Peck 19 pass from G. Campbell, kick good
SD: Peck 82 punt return, kick good
First downs 11-4
Rushes-yards 33-50 32-218
Passes-yards 1-3-1 (-4) 1-2-0-1 19
Punts/avg. 6-24 2-39
Penalties 2-10 3-30
Fumbles/lost 6-1 2-2
RUSHING-SD: Sanders 4-33, Gunn 8-60, Johnson 11-95; SJ: Murphy 11-31, Vann 2-21, Ritchie 13-(-5)
PASSING-SD: G. Campbell 1-2-0-01, 19; SJ: Ritchie 1-3-1 (-4)