Despite loss, Generals enjoy experience playing at JMU
HARRISONBURG — The final score may have not been what he wanted, but for Stonewall Jackson senior offensive/defensive lineman Chance Stroop and his football teammates Saturday’s game was the experience of a lifetime.
The Generals lost 49-12 to East Rockingham at James Madison University’s Bridgeforth Stadium. The game was one of four games played over two days there in the first-ever Shenandoah Valley High School Football Classic.
“It was awesome,” Stroop said. “We were coming out at the start of the game, I was walking out and it still hadn’t hit me yet. Then we walked around saw the whole stadium, everyone was cheering for us. It was awesome. I was expecting a lot, but it was a lot better than what I was actually expecting.”
Stroop said he felt more nervous than he had ever felt for a game.
“I was nervous in the stomach, the chest and the throat,” Stroop said. “Coming out I was like ‘oh we’re going to be here in front of people I’ve never seen before, radio broadcast — it’s going to be a big game.'”
Once the game started the Eagles took control early.
East Rockingham quarterback Jaylen McNair threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Javon Butler on the first play from scrimmage for a 6-0 lead.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Eagles needed only two plays to stretch the lead to 14-0. McNair connected with Butler for another touchdown, this time a 45-yard pass, with 8:39 left in the first quarter.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, East Rockingham’s Chandler Breeden recovered a Stonewall Jackson fumble and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
“Turnovers hurt us early,” Stonewall Jackson coach Jay Goode said. “Eastern Rock is good in space. We’re a much better team between the tackles than out in space and that’s just the way it is.”
The Generals’ defense stepped up on East Rockingham’s next drive as they stopped the Eagles on fourth-and-goal at the Stonewall Jackson 1-yard line.
However three plays later, East Rockingham’s Chris Rogers recovered a Stonewall Jackson fumble in the end zone for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead with 2:54 left in the opening quarter.
The Eagles stretched the lead to 35-0 in the first quarter on a 47-yard touchdown pass from McNair to Logan Comer.
“When you come out offensively like that it’s hard to keep up with us some times,” East Rockingham coach Donnie Coleman said.
McNair went 8 for 11 for 194 yards and five touchdown passes, all in the first half. Butler finished with 109 receiving yards on four receptions and three scores.
“Jalen (McNair), he’s a heck of a quarterback,” Stroop said. “He throws the ball — he’s got a cannon. Javon (Butler) and Logan Comer they’re good receivers, and we just don’t have the athletes to cover them. We can come out in any defense we want and they’re going to be faster than us at the end of the day. It’s what happened. I don’t think we played our best, but even with our best it would have been a tough football game.”
Stonewall Jackson quarterback Logan Ritchie scored on touchdown runs of 7 and 1 yards in the fourth quarter. Stonewall Jackson junior Jacob Murphy had 40 yards rushing to lead the Generals.
The Generals are still searching for their first win of the season, and have been battling injuries all year.
No matter how the rest of the season turns out, Stroop said that he won’t forget playing a high school game at JMU.
“Not many high school people, other than the ones that go to college, can say they played on a Division I college field,” Stroop said. “Even if the game was 49-12, the experience was awesome and I enjoyed every bit of it.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Eagles 49, Generals 12
East Rockingham 35 14 0 0–49
Stonewall 0 0 0 12–12
E: Butler 48 pass from McNair (Kick failed), 11:46
E: Butler 45 pass from McNair (Butler pass from McNair), 8:39
E: Breeden 12 fumble return (Comer kick), 8:18
E: Rogers fumble recovery in end zone (Comer kick), 2:54
E: Comer 47 pass from McNair (Comer kick), :17
E: Rogers 17 pass from McNair (Comer kick), 8:51
E: Butler 5 pass from McNair (Comer kick), 6:55
S: Ritchie 7 run (Kick failed), 10:03
S: Ritchie 1 run (Kick failed), 4:32
First downs 12 6
Rushes-yards 27-121 40-124
Passing yards 197 3
Passing 9-14-5-1 0-3-0-1
Penalties-yards 4-25 3-25
Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-2
Punts-Avg. 1-43.0 5-26.8
Rushing: East Rockingham, Evans 2-(-2), McNair 2-(-12), Kisamore 6-73, Breeden 1-0, Hardbarger 1-4, Dove 3-6, Williams 5-(-13), G. Morris 3-16, Bailey 3-40, H. Morris 1-(-1). Stonewall Jackson, Murphy 13-40, L. Patton 3-2, Vann 3-20, Ritchie 10-33, Howdyshell 8-18, Fauver 2-3, Lewter 1-8.
Passing: East Rockingham, McNair 8-11-194-5-0, Williams 1-3-3-0-1. Stonewall Jackson, Ritchie 1-5-3-0-1.
Receiving: East Rockingham, Rogers 1-17, Comer 1-47, Butler 4-109, Breeden 1-4, G. Morris 1-17, Kisling 1-3.