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Ground attack leads Eagles past Rams


By Brian Eller
beller@nvdaily.com

BERRYVILLE -- Grant Shaw will tell you he'd rather see his teammates score touchdowns than take the football into the end zone himself. Whether or not he's telling the truth, however, is up for debate.

"Honestly, I get more excited when I see Matt [Moyer] or Ron [Anderson] or any of those guys take the ball in for a touchdown," the Clarke County running back said. "Because those guys work so hard, we all do as a team and they deserve it when they get that opportunity."

If the same holds true for Shaw's teammates, they had plenty of reason to be excited Friday night. Shaw rushed for 232 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Eagles to a 49-7 trouncing of Strasburg, keeping their perfect season intact and setting up a showdown next Friday at Manassas Park.

"It's starting to feel like last year a little bit," Shaw said. "We've been rolling over teams the past few weeks and setting ourselves up for the playoffs. But we need to keep the intensity up and get ready because our next game [against the Cougars] is not going to be easy."

Before Shaw and the Eagles could think about their game with Manassas Park, they first had to take care of a Strasburg team that entered Friday's game winners in three of their last four, and it didn't take long before Clarke County got on the scoreboard.

Despite Shaw's memorable day on the ground, the Eagles' offense first found success through the air, as quarterback Drew Paice connected on three of his first four passes, including a 68-yard strike to Moyer, giving the Eagles an early, 7-0 lead.

Strasburg tried to respond to the opening score and found some running room on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Rams excellent field position late in the first quarter. That would be as far as they would travel, however, as quarterback Hunter Funk struggled to move the ball through the air and the Rams' rushing attack, led by sophomore Jakwon White, wasn't able to move the chains.

"Clarke County's a good team," coach Mark Roller said. "We didn't help ourselves any on offense, either. We have to do a better job of executing and on defense we have to tackle better. Our kids certainly gave a good effort but you can't make the mistakes we made against a good team like that."

It's easy to see why Strasburg had trouble stopping Clarke County's offense, as both Shaw and Anderson held significant size advantages, allowing them to push forward down the field. By the time halftime came, touchdown runs from Anderson and Shaw gave the Eagles a 21-0 lead.

"Actually, I thought we came out a little slow tonight," Shaw said. "I know we had the shutout going into the half, but we weren't playing up to the level I thought we could. We were going on long drives, but we weren't always scoring and that's something we talked about in the locker room."

Leave it to Shaw to help change all of that. With less than two minutes gone from the second half, Shaw took Clarke County's first offensive possession 70 yards down the right sideline, breaking several tackles before scampering for the touchdown. Shaw would add another 19-yard score just before the end of the quarter to balloon the Eagles' lead to 35, pushing him over the 200-yard mark for the night.

And with Clarke County's offense humming, the Eagles' defense matched them step for step, holding Strasburg to under 200 yards of total offense and just seven points in the win.

"I think we're hitting our stride," Clarke County coach Chris Parker said. "[Next week] is a huge game for us and tonight I thought our defense played outstanding. My hat's off to Strasburg, they're a gritty team, but we feel like we're starting to really get to the level we're capable of and we have to get ready for Manassas Park."



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