The Battle For The Ball was over by halftime.
Stuarts Draft dominated the first half of play against the Waynesboro Little Giants and the Cougars went on to win the rivalry game and the trophy that goes with it, 42-0, Friday evening. The victory is the fourth straight for Draft in the matchup of city-county rivals.
“I thought we came out and dominated the line of scrimmage in the first half,” said Cougars head coach Nathan Floyd. “Our defense shut down their option and on offense our running backs ran hard. We played really well in the first half.”
The Little Giants took the opening kickoff and the Draft defense forced a punt after three rushing attempts. Waynesboro got the first break of the game when the Cougars mishandled the punt and Waynesboro’s James Bolden fell on the loose pigskin at the Little Giants’ 47. Once again, Waynesboro was unable to move the football and following another punt, Draft started its first series from it 21-yard line.
The Cougars moved quickly downfield, chewing up yardage while averaging nearly 10 yards per rush, Aaron Nice capped the drive with a 4-yard run for a 6-0 Draft lead with 4:41 left in the first quarter. The PAT was wide.
The Cougars went to the air for the next score after taking over on their 45 following another Waynesboro punt.
Quarterback Henry Cooke connected with Jo’el Howard on a quick pass and the Draft receiver eluded a defender and took it the distance, 55 yards, for the touchdown. Tyler Lingenfelter added the extra point, making it 13-0 with 2:26 left in the first quarter.
Draft then took advantage of a short punt that rolled dead at the Waynesboro 42, needing just five plays to find the end zone. Cooke connected with Freddie Watkins on a 25-yard scoring pass as Watkins outjumped a defender in the end zone for the touchdown. Nice ran for the conversion for a 21-0 Cougars’ lead.
The Cougars’ defense stopped Waynesboro on fourth-and-short at the Little Giants’ 41, setting the offense up with another short field. Symeon Balser scored on a 4-yard run and Lingenfelter tacked on the point for a 28-0 lead.
A low snap in punt formation set up drive’s next drive at the Waynesboro 26. Nice ripped off a 20-yard run to the 4-yard line and, following a penalty, scored on a 2-yard run. Lingenfelter’s PAT made the score 35-0 with2:44 left in the half.
The Cougars added their final score in the closing minute of the half when Nice scored from 10 yards out. The PAT by Lingenfelter made it 42-0 at the half and that’s the way the game ended.
Draft rolled up 300 yards offense in the first half while holding the Little Giants to 16 yards on 22 plays.
“We’ve got five running back on the varsity and they can all run the football,” said Floyd. Nice rushed for 80 yards on eight carries and Dustyn Fitzgerald added 47 yards on six carries.
Cooke completed both of his pass attempts for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
“We’re going to run the ball first, but we feel like we can pass the football,” said Floyd. “We work on the passing game every day. We like Henry at quarterback and we have some pretty good receivers.”