STEPHENS CITY — The Sherando football team will face a challenge against Jefferson (W.Va.) this week.
The Cougars and their spread offense put up almost 400 yards in a 62-42 loss to Millbrook last week, and Sherando will look to keep its defensive success going after holding James Wood to one offensive touchdown in its season opener. That score came with less than five minutes left in the Warriors' 49-12 win.
“I think [whoever we play] there’s always challenges that are present,” Sherando coach Bill Hall said. “This week will be a different challenge than last week. Then there’s also just the challenge of us getting better individually and collectively. So you’re trying to marry both those things in terms of just everything that our players need to do to get better, what we as units need to do to get better. And then how do we attack the scheme that they’re doing.”
Jefferson quarterback Corbin Pierson passed for 167 yards against Millbrook. Hall said the Warriors will need to slow him down to thwart the Jefferson offense.
“He’s a really good quarterback,” Hall said. “He’s not afraid to put the football up into coverage. So it will be important that we do a good job of containing him. I think some of their explosive plays happen when he breaks out of the pocket.”
Hall said John Gidney is one of the Cougars’ top wide receivers and is a playmaker. Gidney had six catches for 84 yards against Millbrook.
“[Gidney] is a really good receiver, not that the other ones aren’t,” Hall said. “But [Gidney] really stands out as being really good, someone that you got to take notice of.”
Sherando is coming off a strong defensive game, in which it held James Wood to 232 yards of offense. Hall said the defense was put in bad positions sometimes against the Colonels but came up with some big stops.
“The way that we responded to those situations I thought was really good,” Hall said. “It wasn’t always the best executed but you can overcome that with a lot of heart and effort and energy. So I thought our guys did a good job with that.”
Offensively, the Warriors gained 533 yards, including 398 on the ground.
Sherando senior running back Darius Lane had 226 yards rushing on 25 carries and three touchdowns as he took over as the team's No. 1 running back after three seasons as a reserve.
“Darius, might have surprised some people, but it wasn’t a surprise to us,” Hall said. “He’s been working hard for his opportunity. He just happened to be playing behind some really good people in front of him for three years. I’m happy for him to make the most of the opportunity.”
Hall said he was also pleased with the play of the offensive line, especially junior Keith Gouveia.
“They were physical, not that there’s not some stuff to clean up,” Hall said. “But Keith [Gouveia)] is leading that group in a positive way. If you just watched Keith — he’s a man. He does a really good job. And I think that unit is gelling and getting better. But anytime you have 500 yards of offense, there’s a lot of things going right. The scary part is there’s a lot of things we need to get better at.”
Junior Chacai Campbell made his third career start at quarterback. Against James Wood, Campbell threw for 135 yards on 7-for-16 passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for 72 yards on 15 carries and had one touchdown.
“He’s doing well,” Hall said. “I’m really, really hard on him, but I’m really, really hard on that position because I coach it. And if he’s not getting the job done, it’s up to me to get him there. So I own that part of it and he does a good job owning up his part of it. So I think that makes it a good marriage. We both own that we need to help each other out. I need to put him in good situations and he needs to keep progressing in terms of knowledge and decision making.”
Hall said he’s seeing some positive things from his young team, which has many new players starting this season.
“Every team has their own personality, but this team, they understand that if they’re going to earn anything that they’re going to have to work really, really hard,” Hall said. “They understand that. I think they embrace the tradition that’s been paved for them.
"And I think there’s limits from outside that have been placed upon them. And we talk about that there’s no limits from the inside. There’s no limits that we put on ourselves. So right now it’s just about trying to realize our potential. And our guys do a really good job of every day coming out and understanding that we got to keep getting better, and if we do that good things are ahead.”