By Brad Fauber - firstname.lastname@example.org
BERRYVILLE -- Visiting Strasburg could not handle the early blitz of attacks by host Clarke County as the No. 8 Rams fell 8-0 in the Bull Run District boys soccer tournament quarterfinals on Friday evening.
The top-seeded Eagles (15-1-1) came out like a team with something to prove as they tallied their first goal of the evening less than two minutes into the action, and the overmatched Rams (2-15) could do little to slow down Clarke County's unrelenting offensive push.
The game ended with just over 13 minutes left to play as the mercy rule came into effect.
"They came out hungry, they are a strong team," said Rams coach Joel Ross. "I think they definitely deserve to be first in the district right now. They have a great set of players and they play well together.
"As disappointing as it can be to get slaughtered and end the game early, it's not like we're losing that badly to a bad team."
Clarke County wasted no time proving just how strong it is as senior Ben Marshall scored the first of his three goals as he headed in a cross pass from five yards out to give the Eagles a quick lead in the second minute.
Marshall struck again just two minutes later when he scored from 10 yards away off an assist by junior Davey Hardesty, and it quickly became clear that Clarke County wasn't going to look past anyone as it makes its way through the district tournament.
"[Strasburg] played us tough the last time we played them. It was a 4-1 match [on May 8], and we wanted to come out and do a little bit differently than what we did the first time," said Eagles coach Scott House.
"Plus, we want to continue playing and build our momentum for down the road. That was the key to what we were trying to do tonight."
Hardesty scored on a header of his own in the 17th minute off a corner kick by Connor Shendow, and Shafic Osman scored his first goal of the season on an assist by Colin Johnson to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead with 12 minutes to go in the first half.
Clarke County, which utilized several solid set plays off corner kicks all evening, scored again when senior Donald Tredway headed in a Macson McGuigan corner kick in the 33rd minute, and Shendow capped the first-half outburst with a goal of his own with just over two minutes remaining to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead at the half.
Strasburg was outshot 21-0 in the first half of action alone, and managed just one decent look at the goal -- a 20 yard shot that sailed high by Domenico Lubrano in the 60th minute -- the entire match.
Things didn't get much better in the second half for Strasburg as Tredway knocked home his second goal of the evening barely two minutes into the second half to extend the Eagles' lead to 7-0.
Clarke County, which made mass substitutions with 25 minutes remaining, finally ended the rout when Marshall headed in yet another corner kick with 13:22 left.
Friday's blowout loss was a disappointing end to a rough season for Strasburg, but Ross said the 2012 campaign was a definite improvement after a winless season a year ago.
"Last season we had zero wins, this season we have two wins. This year we have scored against George Mason, Clarke [County] and Manassas [Park] for the first time that I know of," Ross said. "The program's building -- we're stronger than we were years ago. We've been seeing gradual improvements."