The James River football team had a tough time in their season opener last Friday as they lost to Stuarts Draft, 48-7. It was the first game for Tim Jennings as head coach and one he’d just as soon forget.

“They have a real good football team,” said Jennings of the Cougars. “We didn’t match them in their physicality and aggressiveness. It was a long night.”

On top of that River, quarterback Dyllan McAllister and will be out for at least a week. Junior Aaron Bridges will take the snaps this week as the Knights prepare for another tough game at Madison County.

Stuarts Draft jumped on the Knights early, scoring on three Nice runs. Aaron Nice, that is, who rushed for 124 yards and four touchdowns and also took a punt back 70 yards for a score.

The Cougars were up 28-0 by the half, then scored 13 more in the third quarter to set the clock running continuously. River’s score came late in the fourth quarter on a 62-yard run by sophomore Hunter Forbes, who led the Knight rushers with 69 yards on two carries.

River was outgained on the ground, 339-79. Luke Peay had 15 carries for 34 yards. McAllister threw six passes, completing two for 26 yards, before he left with an ankle injury.

Kevin Theimer and Addison McCaleb had nine total tackles each to lead the River defense. Jack Voight had four solos and four assists while Peay and Tanner Dillow had six total tackles each. Caleb Shipwash had a sack, Adam Bridges forced a fumble and McCaleb recovered it.

This week Jennings is going to try to get the Knights focused.

“They were focused and we weren’t,” he said. “They had a lot more varsity experience than we had, and it showed. We never made them punt the whole night.”