STUARTS DRAFT — The showdown between the top two teams in the Region 2B power rankings turned into a lopsided affair.
Stuarts Draft, ranked No. 2 in the power rankings took to the air Friday night and rolled over the Luray Bulldogs, 56-27.
Cougars’ quarterback Henry Cooke passed for five touchdowns and ran for one as Draft pulled away for the win. Cooke completed 9-of-16 passes for 269 yards.
“Luray is a really good defensive football team and we knew we might have to open up the offense tonight,” said Draft head coach Nathan Floyd. “We want to run the football but we work on the passing game every day. We have a couple of really good receivers on the outside and we have a quarterback who can throw it.”
Cooke connected with Jo’el Howard on a 39-yard scoring pass for a 6-0 Draft lead, but the Bulldogs scored the next two touchdowns, the second on a 74-yard run by Austin Holloway to lead 14-6.
Draft struck again on a 21-yard pass from Cooke to Freddie Watkins and the duo hooked up again for the conversion pass to tie the score at 14-14.
A 57-yard scamper by Holloway made it 20-14, but the Cougars answered with a 31-yard TD pass from Cooke to Watkins. Tyler Lingenfelter added the PAT to put the Cougars up 21-20 with 6:19 left in the first half.
The game got away from the Bulldogs late in the half when Draft scored two touchdowns in the final minute.
Aaron Nice capped a 60-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring run, making the score 28-20 with 45 seconds left on the clock.
After receiving the kickoff, the Dogs put the ball on the ground and the Cougars recovered on the Luray 39. On the final play of the half, Cooke hit Nice with a screen pass and the Draft back raced untouched into the end zone. The PAT gave the Cougars a 35-20 lead at the half.
Draft got the ball first to start the second half and drove 61 yards in seven plays to pad the lead. The big play of the drive was a 38-yard run by Blake Roach to the Luray 19. Cooke scored on a quarterback sneak to put the Cougars on top 42-20 with 8:20 left in the third quarter.
Draft’s Nice scored on a 1-yard run and Holloway added a 29-yard scoring run for the Bulldogs as the Cougars maintained a comfortable 49-27 lead heading into the final quarter.
Draft put the finishing touches on the victory when Cooke connected with Howard on a 63-yard scoring play for the final TD of the game. Cooke found Howard deep down the middle of the field and the Draft receiver outfought the defender for the ball. Howard made a juggling catch and waltzed into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game.
The Cougars displayed good balance on offense as they ran the ball for 218 yards to finish just shy of 500 yards total offense.
Holloway turned in a huge performance for Luray, rushing 17 times for 294 yards.
The Cougars, still undefeated this season, open district play next Friday when they travel to play county rival Buffalo Gap.