STUARTS DRAFT – After record-high temperatures this week, a cold front blew through the Draft Friday night. But the Cougars stayed hot, defeating visiting Page County 52-13 .
The Shenandoah District win kept the Cougars undefeated, and in a dogfight with the Goochland Bulldogs for the top spot in the Region 2A East standings for the top spot in the region.
Even without the services of homecoming king Izzy Johnson, nursing a sprained ankle, senior Dylan Lehmann and his teammates more than made up for Johnson’s absence with one big play after another.
Interceptions by senior Robert Peck and Antonio Ruiz-Haynes set up the Cougars first two touchdowns, 30 and 33-yard scampers by Lehmann.
Xavier Gunn added a 10-yard touchdown run early in the second period and William Wilkinson added the third of his seven extra points for the evening.
The Panthers got one score back on an electrifying 90-yard scoring run by Ethan Hizer, but less than two minutes later, Lehmann struck again, this time on an 82-yard scoring pass from quarterback Garrett Campbell.
The Cougars then scored on a defensive touchdown when Ruiz-Haynes picked off the Panthers’ William Hart and returned the ball 22 yards for the Draft’s fifth TD of the half.
Tucker Rost ended the first half with a sack of Hart.
It took the Cougars (8-0) just a couple of minutes to increase the lead in the second half as Gunn scored his second TD, this time from 20 yards out.
Colby Phillips got into the act, busting into the end zone from the one-yard line to make the score 49-6.
Another interception, this time by Gunn, led to the final Draft points, a 29-yard field goal by Wilkinson.
Hizer scored on a 40-yard run to complete the scoring for the Panthers.
“We’re still not satisfied,” Lehmann said. “I was just trying to run hard for my team. We are getting better but there’s always room for improvement.”
Stuarts Draft head coach Nathan Floyd praised the running attack of Lehmann, Gunn, Phillips and freshman Areian Sanders, who got the bulk of the work in Johnson’s absence.
“Our motto is next man up and I was pleased that we played hard on both sides of the ball,” Floyd said.
The Cougars host Luray next Friday before finishing the regular season against Riverheads.
PAGE COUNTY 0 6 0 7 — 13
STUARTS DRAFT 14 21 14 3 — 52
SD – Lehmann 30 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Lehmann 33 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Gunn 10 run (Wilkinson kick)
PC – Hizer 90 run (run failed)
SD – Lehmann 82 pass from Campbell (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Ruiz-Haynes 22 interception return (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Gunn 20 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Phillips 1 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Wilkinson 29 field goal
PC – Hizer 40 run (Dykes kick)