Generals excited to face Cavaliers in playoffs
QUICKSBURG – Stonewall Jackson is looking to make the most of its playoff opportunity.
Despite a 0-10 regular season, the fifth-seeded Generals will be playing at No. 4 seed Altavista in the Region 1B football quarterfinals tonight. The game was moved from Friday to today due to the forecasted weather.
Stonewall Jackson sophomore quarterback Austin Ritchie said the team is looking forward to the playoff game.
“We’re just excited that we get another chance in the playoffs,” Ritchie said. “And just to get another game to keep our season going.”
There are only six playoff-eligible teams in Region 1B, so every team is automatically in the postseason. It’s the second straight year the Generals will face Altavista in the playoffs. Last year the Cavaliers won 48-6.
Stonewall Jackson coach Pete Lampman said that Altavista looks much like they did last year.
“They have good athletes. They play hard,” Lampman said. “They come off the ball. They’re good in space. That’s the main thing, a lot like last year, is their athletic ability.”
Altavista (3-7) is led offensively by sophomore quarterback Jayllen Jones.
“The quarterback’s really good,” Lampman said. “They like to throw the ball a little bit. He’s a good athlete. If you let him, he can carry them.”
Lampman said that junior tight end/defensive end Kendrick Coles and senior wide receiver/defensive back Jaden Gilbert are also good athletes for Altavista. Lampman said junior defensive end Jaden Martin leads the way for the Cavaliers on defense and junior Nathan Weeks is talented on the offensive and defensive lines.
Lampman said a key to the game will be not letting Altavista’s athletes get in open space.
The Generals’ most competitive game of the season came against Robert E. Lee, a 28-14 loss. Lampman said that Altavista is similar to Robert E. Lee.
“If we can show up and play like we played at Robert E. Lee, then we can have a chance,” Lampman said. “And they’re a team that’s very similar to Robert E. Lee in what they run and their athletic ability. Across the board, they’re very similar to Robert E. Lee.”
The Cavaliers (3-7) are averaging 14.3 points per game and allowing 41.8 per contest.
The Generals will be playing without two key players. Senior Udreka Claude and sophomore Rion Dennison, both backs in Stonewall Jackson’s triple-option offense, are out due to injuries. Dennison will be doing the kicking duties, but will not play on offense or defense due to a dislocated finger.
Lampman said senior Damian Tapia and junior Victor Gonzalez-Cordero will start in their place in the backfield on offense.
The Generals will also be starting two freshmen on defense.
“We’re going to give them a chance,” Lampman said. “We’re going to treat it like a (college) bowl game. Take a look at some guys in some different spots and some new kids and see what they can do.”
The Generals were off last week, and Lampman said it was good for the team heading into the playoff game. He said he wants the team to look at the playoff game as a new start.
Ritchie said that the players are confident about their chances against the Cavaliers.
“We’re really excited for it,” Ritchie said. “We know we have a good chance with it. So we just got to give it our all.”