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Jefferson loses to Loudoun in football

August 27, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Maybe the Jefferson Cougars would have prepared for their season opener differently if they had know it was going to be an ArenaBall game.

The 29-7 loss to Loudoun County (Va.) was almost entirely played in their 50 yards of the field, and the thick fog that rolled in made the stadium seem like it was enclosed.

But for Jefferson coach Jay Kirby, it didn't matter where the game was being played.

"We didn't play very well," Kirby said. "We've got a lot of young guys, and you could see the question marks in their eyes sometimes."

And the Raiders had most of the answers, thanks to a time-consuming ground game and the accurate left leg of Cary Greenfield, who booted five field goals, including a 47-yarder off the crossbar to end the first half.

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"We know we have a weapon in him," Loudoun coach Pat McManus said. "Last year, three of those times he kicked, we would have gone for it instead. But with him, we can go for the points."

Loudoun built the points slowly and steadily. The Raiders ran 41 plays to Jefferson's 20 in the first half, but only led 13-7 after Greenfield's kick off the woodwork.

"Defensively, I thought we did good against them," Kirby said. "Anytime you can stop them from getting in the end zone, you're doing all right. But we were pretty much jammed into our end all night."

It happened after the Cougars tried their version of ArenaBall. It worked - for awhile.

A 60-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Hyre to Carlton Wilcox got Jefferson on the board in the second quarter, and Hyre later found Andre McDonald for 51 yards to the Loudoun 3, but Jefferson did not score.

"We scored, stopped them and then came right back down the field," Kirby said. "Not scoring took a little bit away from us."

As it turned out, it was the Cougars' last chance. Jefferson only ran eight plays in Loudoun territory all night, just three in the second half.

They resulted in a clipping penalty, a fumble, an interception, one rush for minus-4 yards and four incomplete passes.

Hyre was picked off four times on the night, and Jefferson ended with just 15 yards rushing - 24 in the fourth quarter.

"We're still young," Kirby said. "And (Hyre) is gonna get better. We're committed to him ... He'll be all right."

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