STUARTS DRAFT – Coming off an emotionally charged win last week, Stuarts Draft fans could have been concerned about the team having a letdown against the sixteenth seed Nottoway. That was far from the case however, as Draft jumped out early to roll to a decisive 49-16 win in the first round of the Region 2A East playoffs.
Leading up to the contest, Stuarts Draft coach Nathan Floyd felt good about his chances.
“We actually had a better week of practice this week than last,” he said.
His team focused on fundamentals in preparation for a rather unknown opponent who made the long journey from Blackstone to Stuarts Draft.
Both teams had some playoff jitters early as they exchanged fumbles on their opening drives. Draft caught a break when on Nottoway’s second drive, the long snap sailed past the punter giving the Cougars great field position on their opponent’s 20. Xzavier Gunn would go on to rumble in for Draft’s first score of the night three plays later.
After a quick out for Nottoway and a punt, Dylan Lehmann wasted no time putting the Cougars on the board again with a 65-yard sprint giving them a 14-0 advantage.
Nottoway’s first half was made up of a lot of penalties and miscues, including four fumbles and Steven Coles tossing an interception. Stuarts Draft took full advantage of the miscues, including an Izzy Johnson touchdown to open the second period.
After keeping it on the ground for the first 18 minutes of the contest, Draft senior Garrett Campbell took it to the air for two scores one to Carson Peck and another to Izzy Johnson to put the Cougars in a commanding 35-0 advantage before halftime.
“He’s accurate, he’s amazingly accurate,” Floyd said about Campbell. “He reads defenses and puts the ball where it needs to be.”
The second half started with a show of running force from Gunn, carrying the ball eight times on the opening Cougar drive, capping it off with a short touchdown run. With Nottoway looking for options on their next drive, going to the air didn’t work as Draft’s Colby Phillips picked off a pass and sprinted 40 yards for another Draft score to put them up 49-0.
Nottoway would get a couple of late scores behind sophomore quarterback Cameron Reekes, but it was long after the contest was decided.
The Cougar defense was solid all game, bottling up the Nottoway running game, and swarming for every loose ball and pass. Coach Floyd had praise for his defense as well following the contest.
“We got a pretty good defense here,” he said. “They get to the ball, they hit hard, and take advantage of the fumbles.”
NOTTOWAY 0 0 0 16 — 7
STUARTS DRAFT 14 21 14 0 — 49
SD – Gunn 8 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Lehmann 65 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Johnson 3 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Peck 7 pass from Campbell (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Johnson 20 pass from Campbell (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Gunn 2 run (Wilkinson kick)
SD – Phillips INT return (Wilkinson kick)
N – Bassfield 43 pass from Reekes (Booth run)
N – Reekes 5 run (Booth run)