Stuarts Draft is 2-0 after two games, and its defense has as much to do with that as its offense.
The Cougars got their second win Saturday, shutting out Waynesboro 14-0. Senior back Izzy Johnson scored both touchdowns,but the defense gave the offense the opportunities to score.
“I’m ecstatic,” head coach Nathan Floyd said of the defense’s performance. “We tackled really, really well tonight. We didn’t have any blown coverages. It was just a solid night on defense.”
And when the Little Giants forced and recovered two fumbles, Draft’s defense stepped up and kept Waynesboro out of the end zone and off the scoreboard.
“It’s super huge,” said Floyd. “We preach you’ve got to play where the ball is put. They did that tonight.”
The offense did its part, too. It controlled the ball, keeping the defense off the field for long stretches.
“Overall, great game,” said Floyd. “We had great special teams tonight. I’m just happy, pleased.
”I’m proud of all 46 of them. All 46, they had a great week of practice and, again, I’m just proud of them tonight.”
After being trounced on opening night by Riverheads, Lee High has come from behind in two straight contests to move to 2-1 on the season.
Against Rockbridge County, a couple of quick, late drives proved to be the difference.
Trailing 14-0 with less than a minute to play until halftime, the Leemen moved 58 yards in 40 seconds to shave the deficit in half. Then with the score tied at 14-all with 2:22 remaining in regulation, it took just two plays and 42 seconds to travel 80 yards for the game-winning TD.
While Lee has been finding ways to win, just the opposite has been true for Rockbridge. The Wildcats are 0-3, losing twice by seven points and the other by just one.
“It’s a testament to Rockbridge’s program how hard they played,” said Robert E. Lee coach Scott Girolmo. “I feel like we stole it. A great job by their players, playing their guts out.”
A long way to go
After winning its opener against Wilson Memorial, Waynesboro has dropped its last two to fall to a 1-2 record. Unbeaten Riverheads looms this week, but Little Giants coach Derek McDaniel has a lot of confidence in his charges.
“We’re three games into the season and there’s a lot of football left,” McDaniel said. “We have seven weeks left and a lot of things could happen.
“Every team is different, every group is different,” he added. “You’ve just got to grab the bull by the horns and say you’re either committed to it or you’re not. And you’ve got to be committed to it for the long haul.”
In Friday’s 14-0 loss to Stuarts Draft, the Little Giants’ offense couldn’t generate points, but the defense did what it could to keep the Cougars off the scoreboard.
“The defense played pretty damn well tonight,” McDaniel said. “They stayed on the field all night long.”
Two years ago, Waynesboro started the season 1-3, but roared back to win four of the last six regular-season games to qualify for the Region 3A West playoffs. The Little Giants stunned top-seeded Hidden Valley and crushed Broadway before bowing out in the third round with a 33-28 loss to Western Albemarle.
Plenty of depth
Buffalo Gap used a lot of weapons Friday in its 50-6 thrashing of Bath County. Eight different players carried the ball in the Bison’s rushing attack, rolling up 437 yards on 41 carries for a 10.7-per-carry average.
“We got off to a real fast start, racked up some yards and we did a real good job,” Gap coach Andy Cline said. “Offensively, we played well and defensively, we stepped up and played hard.”
A sort of homecoming
Larry Grubbs, who is in his first year as Bath County’s head football coach, brought his Chargers to his alma mater, Buffalo Gap, on Friday. He played there until his graduation in 1996 and had returned as an assistant coach for Bath County several times, but this was first time at Gap as a head coach.
“I’ve been here as the assistant coach and this is the fourth or fifth time that we have played here,” Grubbs said. “It’s a little different as the head coach, but its still the same. It feels good. It’s kind of like your home.
“My home is now out in Bath County, but this is where I grew up and where I learned to play football.”
The first set of power points for the 2016 season will be released the week of Sept. 26. The VHSL uses the power to determine playoff participants and seedings.
— Compiled by Tom Jacobs. Staff writers Patrick Hite, Ron Hartlaub and Mark Griffin contributed to this report.