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By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Central senior Sean Semones looked up at the goal posts as he watched Strasburg junior kicker Todd Dean's extra-point attempt sail through the air.
Semones saw just what he was hoping for as the kick sailed wide left, giving the Falcons a 27-26 double-overtime win over Strasburg on Friday night. The win gave Central its first-ever outright district title in football.
"I knew if I saw white that he missed it," Semones said. "When I saw white, I knew it was out. It just doesn't get any better than this. Senior year -- to be district champs -- it's unbelievable."
The Rams held a 13-6 lead throughout most of the second half, but the Falcons and their quick-strike offense came to life in the fourth quarter.
Facing third-and-16 from the Falcons' 37, Central sophomore Hayden Bauserman connected with Semones on a long pass down the right sidelines, and once Semones made the catch he was off to the races for a 63-yard touchdown with 5:52 left in the game.
"It was just a pop-and-go," Semones said. "The safety started back, and once I caught I just took off down the sidelines."
Strasburg drove down to the Central 28 on its next possession, but Central's Justin Bauserman made his second interception of the game to give the Falcons the ball back.
A big play through the air seemed to set the Falcons up for the win. Bauserman connected with Jordan Umstead for a 64-yard pass to move the ball to the Strasburg 7 with just 57 seconds left in regulation.
Two plays later, Umstead attempted a 27-yard field goal, but it sailed wide left to keep the game tied 13-13.
Strasburg's Rakwon White scored from 7 yards out in the first overtime, and Molina scored from 1 yard out to send the game to a second overtime.
On third-and-goal from the 10, Central coach Mike Yew called a play that the Falcons use in their offseason camp, but rarely run during games. The play calls for two receivers to run routes to the right in hopes the linebackers will go with them, allowing the tight end to slide in behind them.
The play worked, as sophomore tight end Kolton Poston got open in the end zone and made the touchdown catch from Bauserman.
"I saw Poston get caught up in traffic," Bauserman said. "Then he got free and I just threw it up there to him. He's a big guy. When I saw him make the catch it was just an indescribable feeling."
"I was able to break free, and when I did I just ran my route," the 6-foot-3 Poston said. "When I brought the ball down, it was a great feeling."
The Rams (7-3, 3-3) came right back with three rushes from White to get into the end zone and cut the score to 27-26. Strasburg coach Mark Roller said he considered going for a 2-point conversion, but he felt good about Strasburg's chances going to a third overtime.
"Todd's been an accurate kicker for us all year. I had confidence in him," Roller said. "It was a great high school football game. Unfortunately, somebody had to lose."
Both teams played solid defense throughout the game. Central (5-5, 5-1) scored on the opening kickoff as Molina ran it back 80 yards for the opening touchdown.
Strasburg scored both of its regulation touchdowns off of turnovers. Strasburg's Shawn Owens intercepted Hayden Bauserman's pass and returned it to the Central 11 with 1:29 left in the first quarter. Two plays later, White scored from the 12 to tie the game at 6-6.
On Central's next possession, Owens again intercepted Bauserman and returned it to the Central 3. Two plays later, White, who had 35 carries for 232 yards, scored to give the Rams a 13-6 lead with 10:49 left in the first half.
Despite the interceptions, Bauserman kept his head in the game and bounced back strong in the fourth quarter.
"Guys kept coming up to me on the sidelines and telling me it's just the first half and to keep my head up," Bauserman said. "The second half I just tried to keep playing hard."
Both teams will be in the playoffs next week, but they don't when or where they will play.
"This was a tough loss," Roller said. "As you saw when you walked through the locker room the kids are taking it hard, as they should. But, we have to regroup and get ready for whoever we face next week."
The Falcons started off 0-4, but have won five of their last six games. Central is carrying a lot of momentum into the playoffs, and winning the district only adds to the team's confidence.
"Starting out 0-4, who would've thought that we would've done this?" Semones said. "We just stuck together as a team. It's just a great feeling to be district champions.
"We don't know who were going to play next, but we just got to get ready to play. It's my first time in the playoffs. I'm excited."