Early in its game Monday against Buffalo Gap, Stuarts Draft was having trouble moving the ball on the ground against the Bison. So, the Cougars went to the air.
After Draft punted on its first two possessions, it finally moved the ball the third time it took over possession. Quarterback Garrett Campbell connected with Xzavier Gunn on a couple of big pass plays, including a 20-yard touchdown play, which proved to be all the points the Cougars needed.
“Garrett is a smart, heady football player,” said Stuarts Draft coach Nathan Floyd. “He reads the defenses well and is accurate, he’s unbelievably accurate. It really does make things a little easier on us when you can pass the ball.”
Gunn also scored the Cougars’ other two touchdowns. He had a 3-yard run in the third quarter and a 2-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
Keeping up with Jones
With Waynesboro clinging to a 7-6 halftime lead, Marendon Jones gave the Little Giants a spark to open the second half when he returned a kickoff 68 yards for a touchdown.
“We got out of lane in kickoff, where we’ve been really, really solid as of late,” said Lee High coach Scott Girolmo. “I’ll have to watch the film, but I think it was more than likely several guys made a mistake on the kickoff return, which is big.”
And while that score put Waynesboro up eight points, the play that broke Lee’s back came in the fourth quarter when Waynesboro quarterback DaJuan Moore scored on a 32-yard option run.
“That was perfect,” said Waynesboro coach Derek McDaniel. “That’s exactly how you want to run the option … when you run the option, whether it’s inside, outside option, counter option, whichever, speed option, whatever it is, you take what the defense gives you. It’s a pure read. What people don’t understand, you try to read an option in half a second.”
There are two four-letter words that you rarely hear when Riverheads has the football. They are pass and punt.
In their 49-28 win against East Rockingham, the Gladiators did not attempt a pass. That is nothing new for a Robert Casto coached team.
Six times in the contest, Riverheads faced a fourth down situation. Five times they went for it and made it.
Late in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to a pair of penalties, the Red Pride actually sent out the special teams. They had a comfortable lead and it was just too far to go for the first down.
“It’s all part of the game,” said Casto of the rare punt. “We need the practice, too. I don’t like punting, but that’s just part of what you have to do every now and then.”
So how did the punt team do with their opportunity? Ridge Stokes booted one 40 yards with plenty of hang time. And the coverage team dropped the Eagle returner for negative yardage.
It’s just another thing that Riverheads does well. Just not very often.
Both Waynesboro and Lee High played two games last week. Waynesboro lost to Harrisonburg on Monday, Oct. 3, while Lee beat Broadway that same night.
“The two games this week looked like it really, really took a lot out of them,” Lee High coach Scott Girolmo said of his team. “Up front we looked pretty soft there in the second half, sort as if we were hoping the running backs were going to break tackles and run for first downs.”
Last season, Lee started the season 2-3 before winning five games in a row to end the regular season. It looked like the win over Broadway might propel the Leemen to a similar late-season streak this year. Instead, the loss to Waynesboro dropped Lee to 3-4.
“Yesterday is a million miles away,” said Girolmo. “You can’t live for it and neither will we. We’ll take a look, to the best we can, at our film. We’ll get healthy next week during the bye. We’ll try to patch up some emotional heartache of playing relatively hard and losing to an opponent that they really, really wanted to beat.”
Rugged road ahead
Wilson Memorial got a much-needed win Friday with a 51-8 trouncing of Stonewall Jackson. The reward for the victory? A perilous three-game stretch, featuring clashes with Stuarts Draft, Riverheads and East Rockingham.
The Green Hornets played well at the end of last season to make the Region 2A East playoffs, but head coach Jeremiah Major isn’t worrying about matching that feat at this point.
“I am not thinking playoffs right now,” he said. “We are thinking one step at a time, one step on the ladder. We just continue to focus on ourselves, fixing our mistakes, and continuing to fine tune. Our goal is just to get better each week.”
Mm, mm good
It was another tough loss Friday for Fort Defiance, but Indians head coach Dan Rolfe said he definitely had a bright spot in Trenton Campbell.
The senior had Fort’s lone touchdown in its 50-7 loss to Turner Ashby on Friday, rambling 47 yards for the score early in the second quarter. Campbell paced the Indians with 113 yards on 15 carries.
“He ran the ball really well tonight. He had a great week of practice. He wanted it so badly and I was glad for him.”
Compiled by Tom Jacobs. Sports writers Patrick Hite, Ron Hartlaub Joe Pittman and Mark Griffin contributed to this story.