Sunday, October 21, 2007


Stonewall Gets Outscored by Fauquier

Star Running Backs' Return Restores Hope but Can't Deliver Enough Offense:
Fauquier 54, Stonewall Jackson 16
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, October 21, 2007; PW11

After starting the season with three straight wins, Stonewall Jackson suffered its fourth consecutive loss Friday -- 54-16 to visiting Fauquier that eliminated the Raiders from the Northwest Region playoff race.

Even with the return of Damien Thigpen and Ryan Williams, the team's star running backs who missed both games following a 24-21 loss to Battlefield on Sept. 28, Stonewall Jackson (3-4, 0-4 Cedar Run) was unable to stop a well-balanced Fauquier attack that amassed 89 yards rushing and 308 yards passing.

"We are extremely banged up," Raiders Coach Loren Johnson said. "We tried to give the kids an opportunity to play, but it just didn't go our way tonight."

Williams, a 5-foot-10, 201-pound senior, and Thigpen, a 5-9, 158-pound junior, combined for 793 yards rushing and eight touchdowns to propel the Raiders to a 3-0 start before both were lost to high ankle sprains against Battlefield.

In those four games, the Raiders averaged 22.3 points, and Williams and Thigpen, who doubled as defensive backs, helped fortify a defense that allowed only 11.5 points.

Without Williams and Thigpen, the Raiders were outscored 49-6 in losses to Liberty and Loudoun Valley. Their return Friday night restored hope but did not produce enough of a punch to derail Fauquier (7-0, 4-0 Cedar Run).

"We didn't execute," said Thigpen, who finished with 11 yards on two carries and spent the majority of his playing time as a defensive back. "We have everybody down and hurt. We need to get healthy and execute on every play."

Williams finished with 11 carries for 29 yards in an offense that produced 141 total yards and yielded three turnovers.

"Losses are going to hurt anyway, but we have to come in on Monday and get ready for another team," Thigpen said.

Fauquier junior quarterback Ryan Steves hit senior wide receiver Aubrey McClean for a 21-yard touchdown pass and senior wide receiver David Lewis for a 65-yard score to give the Falcons the 14-0 lead with 8 minutes 5 seconds left in the second quarter.

Steves completed 8 of 12 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the first half before junior Kyle Neumann took over in the second half and completed 5 of 11 attempts for 180 yards.
After Raiders freshman running back Chris Mason answered with an 18-yard touchdown, the Falcons scored on an 85-yard kickoff return to push their lead to 21-6.

Stonewall Jackson's Nathan Stepp recovered a fumble that set up a 29-yard field goal by Patrick Diamond to cut Fauquier's lead to 21-9 before halftime.

The Falcons scored on passes of 20 and two yards and runs of one, five and seven yards to lead the Raiders 33-7 in the second half.

Stonewall Jackson quarterback Breon Shelton added the Raiders' only score of the second half on a six-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

"This program is down, but it is definitely not out," Johnson said. "We have to put the pads on and go out next week and play another game. You can't concede the season."
Stonewall Jackson was penalized eight times for 80 yards.

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