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Winless Generals fall short at home

By Jeremy Staffordjstafford@nvdaily.com

QUICKSBURG — The last thing Stonewall Jackson needed was another heartbreaking loss piled on top of the two it has recently suffered.

But at least following a 19-8 loss to Madison County on Friday, quarterback John-Michael Pirtle and the Generals walked off their home field with shoulders held firm and heads held high.

Because what Stonewall Jackson (0-5) did need, especially with its district schedule looming in the coming week, was a bit of confidence — and even in a loss, Pirtle thinks the Generals have found some.

Madison County, after all, is quite an impressive team, having scored 56 points on Nelson County, 55 points on Luray, and edged Group AA Fluvanna by three points.

The Generals pushed the Mountaineers well into the fourth quarter.

“For us to stick with them, that’s something that we should be proud of,” Pirtle said. “I know it’s a loss, but we need to find things to look at and to focus on to improve.

“All things considered, that’s not a bad job.”

And finally, after five games, Stonewall Jackson seems to have put together a potent rushing game. Sophomore tailbacks Jared Getz and Anthony Peacher combined for 32 carries and 162 yards. And considering the Mountaineers’ ominous defensive line, anchored by a speedy yet bruising lineman in senior Terez Terrell, that’s saying something.

It’s also saying something that Getz, at 5-6 and 145 pounds, lashed that defensive line for 83 yards. In doing so, Getz ripped off runs of 24, 14, and 11 yards. Peacher gobbled up a 32-yard run of his own.

“It says that we’re starting to get things together,” Getz said of the Generals’ performance on the ground Friday. “We’re gonna start picking it up — next week we’re going to be a lot better.”

Defensively, Stonewall Jackson’s game plan was simple: Let Mountaineers sophomore quarterback Dustin Farmer sling the ball around as often as he’d like, as long as tailback Ralph Yates is held in check.

It all went so swimmingly in the first half. Through two quarters, Farmer’s passes fell incomplete more often than not, and aside from a 49-yard run in the second quarter, Yates was contained.

Madison County drove the ball 57 yards to the Stonewall Jackson 9 on its first drive, settled for a field goal, and did little better through the rest of the half.

The Generals might have sprinted into halftime with a lead had Peacher been able to score on a fourth-and-goal from the Stonewall Jackson 3 in the half’s final seconds.

Instead, the Generals lumbered back to their locker room down 9-8, and at some point between the end of the first half and the start of the second half, Farmer became an accurate quarterback. He threw a touchdown pass to wideout Rashad Bolden on the Mountaineers’ first possession of the third quarter, and pushed a shuffle pass to Yates for a 45-yard gain in the fourth quarter.

He finished the night with 10 completions and 179 yards.

Pirtle, at defensive back, broke up a plethora of Farmer’s passes, and drew an offensive pass interference penalty against a Mountaineer receiver in the fourth quarter — a promising effort with pass-happy Central visiting Stonewall Jackson next week.

“We just have lapses — the good thing is the lapses are getting less and less, and there’s more distance between them,” Generals coach Dick Krol said. “But again, we had a lot of good, hard work by kids, I can’t complain about the effort — they tried, they worked hard.”