Stuarts Draft vs Fort Defiance game recap
FORT DEFIANCE —When the lights went out at halftime Friday night, it seemed to also take the power out of Fort Defiance’s offense.
The Indians were hoping to break a 14-game losing streak and, for 24 minutes, it appeared it might happen. Fort took a three-point lead into the locker room at halftime, but two quick scores in the third quarter shifted momentum back to Stuarts Draft, which rallied for a 39-14 win in its season opener.
Stuarts Draft coach Nathan Floyd said the off week in week one hurt his team.
“We haven’t really had any live game action in two weeks and Fort came out and did a great job,” said Floyd. “They physically took it to us tonight in that first half.”
Fort Defiance opened with a drive down the field for a score on the first possession of the half. Austin Fitzwater put Fort in front on a 3-yard touchdown run. Fort then added two on Jacob Jones’ run to take an 8-0 lead.
After the teams traded punts, the Cougars finally answered on a 36-yard drive. Izzy Johnson scored on a 7-yard run and Draft tied the game on a conversion pass from Garrett Campbell to Xavier Gunn just over four minutes into the second quarter.
Fort wasn’t finished, putting together another long drive, capped by Trenton Campbell’s 2-yard run for the score. Fort couldn’t score the conversion, but led 14-8 with 39.8 seconds left in the first half.
Draft wasn’t ready to call it a half though, moving down the field to the Fort 2 before finally having to settle for a 19-yard field goal by William Wilkinson right before the half. The kick cut Fort’s lead to 14-11.
The lights went out at Fort’s football stadium during halftime and, after a bit of a delay in starting the third quarter, finally came back to life, as did Draft’s offense. The Cougars and Johnson took control early with the junior running back scoring on runs of 5 and 45.
“It’s good to get Izzy going,” said Floyd. “We made a few adjustments at halftime on both sides of the ball.”
Those scores were enough to take a Fort team that hadn’t tasted victory since 2014 out of the game mentally.
“It just takes the wind out of your sails,” said Fort Defiance coach Dan Rolfe. “Unfortunately, it’s here we go again.”
The lights went out again for 20 minutes in the fourth quarter, but it didn’t hurt Johnson, who scored twice more in the fourth quarter. Wilkinson added PAT’s on both scores to give him four for the night.
Fort will try to get that elusive win next week at Wilson Memorial while Stuarts Draft has its home opener against Waynesboro.
STUARTS DRAFT 0 11 14 14 — 39
FORT DEFIANCE 8 6 0 0 — 14
FD — Fitzwater 3 run (Jones run)
SD — Johnson 7 run (Gunn pass from Campbell)
FD — Campbell 2 run (pass failed)
SD — Wilkinson 19 FG
SD — Johnson 5 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD — Johnson 45 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD — Johnson 2 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD — Johnson 9 run (Wilkinson kick)