Generals face challenge against undefeated Robert E. Lee

Udreka Claude

QUICKSBURG — All season Stonewall Jackson has played teams that like to run the football. Today the Generals will face a different challenge as they take on a Robert E. Lee squad that likes to throw the football.

The Generals host undefeated Robert E. Lee at 7 p.m. The Fighting Leemen are led by quarterback Jayden Williams.

“He can run. He throws it pretty good,” Stonewall Jackson coach Pete Lampman said of Williams. “He’s athletic. He can run when he needs to run. They run a little bit of read option. He’s pretty good.”

Last week in a 38-34 victory over Buffalo Gap, Williams threw for 142 yards and ran for 86.

Lampman said the Fighting Leemen mostly run out of the spread offense, and he said they have some good receivers to throw the ball to.

“They’re pretty solid all the way around,” Lampman said. “They’ve got athletes everywhere.”

It’s the first year in the Shenandoah District for the Fighting Leemen, who used to be in the Valley District.

Robert E. Lee (4-0, 2-0 Shenandoah) is averaging 40.5 points per game this season.

Stonewall Jackson junior fullback Udreka Claude said the team knows they have a tough task ahead of them.

“It’s exciting. They’re a real big challenge for us,” Claude said. “We’re going to have to go harder than usual. Everybody has to block, do their assignments, jobs, and tackle right.”

The Generals (0-4, 0-2 Shenandoah) have struggled defensively all season. They’ve allowed an average of 54 points per game this year.

Last week, the Generals lost 70-20 to Luray. Stonewall Jackson cornerback Logen Patton said the team has to keep working hard to improve on defense and take care of the fundamentals.

“We need to definitely wrap up better and containment is always a big issue,” Patton said.

Offensively, the Generals had their best game of the season last week. Stonewall Jackson had two 100-yard rushers.

Claude ran for 100 yards on 18 carries. Freshman quarterback Austin Ritchie also ran for 106 yards on four carries and had two touchdowns.

The Generals switched their offense to the triple option this season, and last week they showed some improvements in the offense.

“I think we’re starting to move the ball better,” Patton said. “And I think we’re starting to click a little bit more.”

Patton had two receptions for 52 yards and senior starting quarterback Brendan Hoover had 84 passing yards and a touchdown in the loss to Luray.

Lampman said he was happy with the success they had, but most of it came after the game was out of reach. He said that the theme for the players this week is for everyone to do what the coaches have told them to do.

“Our main objective is do what you’re supposed to do,” Lampman said. “Don’t think about it. Don’t try to overanalyze it. Don’t do what you want to do. Just do what we tell you. If we do that and we’re not successful that will be on us. But so far we’ve been doing it the other way and it’s not been real successful. We’ve been doing it the other way for several years now. So we need to break that trend. Let’s just do what we’re taught to do.”

Lampman said Ritchie’s performance was a prime example of how successful the Generals can be if the offense is run the way it’s supposed to be.

“We put him in and said let’s see what he can do,” Lampman said. “And he did it. He did what we told him to do. He ran the triple option and he ran it correctly.”

Despite the early-season struggles, Lampman said that team has stayed upbeat and excited for the rest of the season, which includes an automatic playoff berth.

“They still know they’re going to play a playoff game,” Lampman said. “So it’s like hey, they’re going to show up every week, and they’re going to give 100 percent. Hopefully it’s 100 percent doing the right thing, going in the right direction instead of 100 percent of doing whatever comes into their head.

“They know they have at least seven games still left — might as well enjoy it.”