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By Robert Edmonds - firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Host Strasburg bounced back from its first loss of the season with a convincing 56-28 win on Homecoming night against district opponent George Mason.
"This win was a big win for us tonight," Rams running back Rakwon White said. "It felt great to get the win after the loss and get back on track. We were able to show everyone how good we really are and get our first homecoming win in a long time."
Strasburg dominated the first half in all facets of the game, scoring on offense, defense and special teams while completely shutting down the George Mason offense. The Mustangs were held to negative yardage in total offense during the first quarter and only managed to record their initial first down on a Rams defensive penalty three minutes into the second quarter.
The Rams took advantage of a turnover on George Mason's first drive to begin the onslaught of things to come. On third-and-10, Jacob Eye couldn't handle a handoff and turned the ball over when Strasburg pounced on the fumble at their 48-yard line. The first play of the possession for the Rams resulted in a 52-yard touchdown when Hunter Funk found Jonathan Kloosterman over the middle on a play-action pass.
The tight end snagged the pass in the middle of the field and then raced to the end zone, giving his team the early advantage. Strasburg then surprised the Mustangs with an onside kick, which the Rams recovered to send their offense back on to the field.
With the Rams' offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage, White found himself gaining large chunks of yardage with relative ease. Gaining 44 yards on six carries, White capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run on a sweep toward the right sideline to score untouched and add to the Rams' lead.
"Our line play was awesome tonight," White said. "They are great and we all get together very well, just like a family."
It only took White and the Rams offense three minutes to find the end zone once again, when White found a seam at the line of scrimmage, then exploded to the left sideline for a 47-yard score to give Strasburg a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
With the Mustangs keying in on stopping the Rams' rushing attack, Strasburg took advantage early in the second when Funk connected again with Kloosterman on a 16-yard scoring pass.
Trailing by a significant margin, the Mustangs found themselves sustaining an offensive drive for the first time as they began to threaten and move the ball into scoring position. The Rams ended the drive abruptly when Todd Dean intercepted a pass and returned it 75 yards for a score.
George Mason then failed again to move the ball against a feisty Rams defense. It was then that the Rams special teams got involved, when Troy Gordon fielded the George Mason punt and returned it 41 yards for a score.
Strasburg added one more score before halftime when White scored his third touchdown of the game on an 83-yard run to put his rushing total to 226 yards in the first half of play as his team was in total control, taking a 49-0 lead into halftime.
With such an insurmountable lead, Strasburg played reserve players for the remainder of the game, allowing younger players to gain significant game experience as they held on for the victory.
"The win tonight was big for us," Rams coach Mark Roller said. "It's always good to be well rounded, and we got our defense and special teams involved. We also got some of our younger and less experienced players involved, which was good game experience because you never know when someone may go down."