STUARTS DRAFT — The Stuarts Draft High School Cougars opened their 2019 football season with a resounding 48-7 victory over visiting James River on Friday night.

Dominating in all phases of the game, the Cougars appeared in mid-season form for most of the contest and rolled to the win.

“The offensive line did a heck of a job,” said Stuarts Draft High School Head Coach Nathan Floyd. “They won the line of scrimmage. We really pushed them and they responded.”

The O-line opened sizeable holes to run through all night and the Cougars backs took full advantage. Sophomore Aaron Nice found the end zone twice in the first period on runs of three and 16-yard sweep.

The Cougars (1-0) scored two more times in the second quarter.

On another sweep, Nice scored another three-yard run and, before the end of the half, junior running back Blake Roach broke loose on a 35-yard TD scamper.

Junior kicker Tyler Lingenfelter converted all four of his extra points in the first half.

James River’s talented quarterback, Dyllan McAllister, was forced to leave due to injury late in the half and didn’t return to play.

But the Cougars’ relentless running game continued to pile up the yardage in the second half and Nice was at it again, scoring on a 38-yard quick hitter and again on a 66-yard punt return where his blocks set up perfectly for him.

Roach completed the Cougars scoring on a 54-yard jaunt in the fourth period.

The Knights avoided the shutout on a 62-yard breakaway run by Hunter Forbes with 4:20 remaining in the game.

“On defense we used some different fronts and played sound,” Floyd said. “We flew around to the football and tackled better than we had in scrimmages.”

Floyd was impressed with the contributions from all over the field.

“This off season we worked hard, we grew up and I’m proud of how we responded,” Floyd said. “Henry Cooke did a good job of managing the offense, we had consistency up front and good communication. We have some pretty good playmakers and we need to continue to get better.”

Nice had 131 yards on 15 carries, caught a pass for 12 yards in addition to his 66-yards on the punt return, while Roach had 161 yards on 10 carries and Dustyn Fitzgerald had 60 yards on nine carries for the Cougars.

Cooke completed six passes for a total of 73 yards.

The Cougars travel to Waynesboro for a rivalry matchup with the Little Giants next Friday.

James River 0 0 0 7 — 7

Stuarts Draft 14 14 13 7 — 48

First quarter

SD — Nice 3 run (Lingenfelter kick)

SD — Nice 16 run (Lingenfelter kick)

Second quarter

SD — Nice 3 run (Lingenfelter kick)

SD — Roach 35 run (Lingenfelter kick)

Third quarter

SD — Nice 38 run (kick failed)

SD — Nice 66 punt return (Lingenfelter kick)

Fourth quarter

SD — Roach 54 run (Crist kick)

JR — Forbes 62 run (Powell kick)

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