Wagner leads Warriors past Cougars

STEPHENS CITY – Sherando senior Nathan Wagner had a career night on Friday.

Wagner had 235 all-purpose yards to help lead Sherando to a 47-12 non-district victory over Jefferson County.

“I’d say this was definitely my best game on varsity so far,” Wagner said. “Hopefully I can keep performing at this level for games to come.”

Wagner had 135 yards rushing on six carries with two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

Sherando scored on its first possession. The Warriors needed only two plays. Sherando’s Wagner carried the ball for a five-yard gain, and then caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Entsminger to take a 7-0 edge just 52 seconds into the game.

“We kind of had that play designed,” Wagner said. “It wasn’t really a trick play, but just an explosive play to take a shot on them early and it worked out.”

The Cougars came right back with a score of their own. Jefferson County needed just seven plays to 75 yards. Jefferson County quarterback Isaac Myers ran 38 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 7-6 with 7:56 left in the first quarter.

The two teams traded punts before the Warriors struck again. Sherando marched 70 yards on seven plays to extend its lead.

A 30-yard pass from Entsminger to Dylan Rivers set-up a 4-yard touchdown run by T.J. Washington with 2:32 left in the opening quarter.

Sherando coach Bill Hall said he liked the balance his team had in the game, running and passing the ball. He said the offensive line has been improving.

“You got to be able to run the ball in order to set up some of the things that we were doing,” Hall said. “I think out front we’re really taking incremental steps forward. I think our whole offense did a good job tonight.”

Two miscues by Jefferson County helped the Warriors stretch the lead in the second quarter.

Jefferson County punter Jeremy Beach had trouble with a low snap and caught the ball with his knee on the ground, giving the ball to the Warriors at the Jefferson County 20-yard line with 9:04 left in the first half.

The Warriors needed only three plays to score as Rivers ran for a 5-yard touchdown for a 20-6 lead.

After forcing a Jefferson County punt, Entsminger completed a 46-yard touchdown pass to Wagner for a 27-6 lead with 5:45 left in the half. Entsminger was able to scramble around long enough to find Wagner wide open.

“Hunter did a good job making some people miss, buying some time especially for that shot to Wags down the field,” Hall said. “We knew we were going to have it. It was whether we could hold up long enough with all the people they had in the box. I thought that was a big play by him buying some time. He did that last week too.”

Sherando’s JoJo Doleman recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to give the Warriors the ball at the Jefferson County 17-yard line. Three plays later Washington scored on an 8-yard run for a 34-6 lead with 4:55 left in the half.

“We’ve been a team, that has a lot of people that are back, but we have a lot of young guys in there playing,” Jefferson County coach Craig Hunter said. “We just got to eliminate mistakes and be a good football team. We just didn’t eliminate mistakes.”

The Cougars threatened to score at the end of the half. Jefferson County went 76 yards on 16 plays, but couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. The Cougars had first-and-goal at the Sherando 2-yard line in the last minute of the half, but back-to-back runs and an incomplete pass ended the half as they ran out of time on the clock.

Wagner added an 84-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, in which he made a cut back at the Sherando 25-yard line and then he raced into the end zone.

“My linemen were doing really well up front, and there was a big hole there,” Wagner said. “There were a couple of secondary people that I had to maneuver through and then it was open field from there.”

Jefferson County scored on a 15-yard pass from Myers to James King with 7:10 left in the game.

Myers threw for 147 yards on 15 for 32 passing and one touchdown. He also ran for 92 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown. Richard Ramsier had five catches for 29 yards, and King had three receptions for 35 yards.

“We’ll watch film, go to the drawing board, see what we got to do, got to fix,” Hunter said. “We’re 1-3, we still got six games left. A lot of season left to see what we can do to push forward and get this thing still turned around.”

Entsminger finished with 157 passing yards on 5 for 9 passing and two touchdowns.

After a 1-3 start, he said it was a big victory for the Warriors.

“We’ve been struggling – 1-3. We’ve played great teams,” Entsminger said. “This is definitely a great momentum boost going to the next game, because we play a lot of our district teams now. It’s a great momentum boost – showing what were capable of.”

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

Warriors 47, Cougars 12
Jefferson 6 0 0 6 –12
Sherando 14 20 7 6–47
First quarter
S: Wagner 54 pass from Entsminger (Sites kick), 11:08
J: Myers 38 run (Kick failed), 8:01
S: Washington 4 run (Sites kick), 2:32
Second quarter
S: Rivers 4 run (Kick failed), 7:58
S: Wagner 46 pass from Entsminger (Sites kick), 5:45
S: Washington 8 run (Sites kick), 4:55
Third quarter
S: Wagner 84 run (Sites kick), 2:06
Fourth quarter
J: King 15 pass from Myers (Pass failed), 7:10
S: Wagner 6 run (Sites kick), 1:31
First downs 15 9
Rushes-yards 31-150 32-241
Passing yards 147 157
Passing 15-32-1-0 5-9-2-0
Penalties-yards 1-10 6-55
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Punts-Avg. 5-37.0 3-42.0
RUSHING: Jefferson, Myers 17-92, Beach 13-58, Peirson 1-0. Sherando, Wagner 6-135, Washington 22-85, Banks 1-8, Entsminger 1-7, Rivers 2-6.
PASSING: Jefferson, Myers 15-32-147-1-0. Sherando, Entsminger 5-9-147-2-0.
RECEIVING: Jefferson, King 3-35, Ramsier 5-29, Blowe 3-27, Gaskins 1-24, Porter 1-18, Anderson 1-10, Cunningham 1-4. Sherando, Wagner 2-100, Rivers 2-41, Perry 1-16.