By Brad Fauber - firstname.lastname@example.org
ALDIE -- Central had the kind of bounce-back win it needed on Friday when it hit the road to take on first-year school John Champe.
The Falcons, fresh off a 28-7 loss to Warren County last Friday, took out their frustration on the winless Knights, holding John Champe to 93 total yards of offense in a 30-9 non-district win.
"We needed that. The biggest thing I told our kids last Friday at the end of the game was, 'don't let one loss become two,'" Falcons coach Mike Yew said. "We needed to bounce back this week, and we did a lot of good things tonight."
Junior quarterback Hayden Bauserman orchestrated Central's offense to near-perfection after a sluggish first quarter, throwing for 229 yards and four touchdowns, but it was the Falcons' defense that stole the show Friday night.
John Champe (0-4) struggled all night long to find any sort of success against Central, rushing for just 61 yards on 33 carries. The Knights had -9 total yards of offense with three minutes to go in the third quarter before a 25-yard drive pulled them back into plus-yardage.
"Once we started rolling in the second quarter, our defense started rolling and we knew what we had to do," said Central junior Kolton Poston. "We sent some guys and just kept pounding it. We took our read stuff, and they came -- they flowed and we read the ball right and just blew it up."
Central (3-1) had a hard time getting the offense going in the first quarter after its opening drive ended with a missed field goal by Jordan Umstead from about 28 yards out.
After both teams failed to score in the opening quarter, John Champe seized momentum when the Knights blew up a toss play by the Falcons inside Central's 10-yard line and Falcons running back Daniel Molina was brought down in the end zone for a safety with 8:32 left in the second quarter.
The momentum was short lived, however, as Umstead's pooch kick on the next play was mishandled by the Knights, allowing Central's Thomas Peacemaker to recover the ball at the Falcons' 40-yard line.
"It was a big swing, because at that point our kids had already played through a scoreless first quarter," Yew said. "We talked all week about letting a team stick around that you feel like you should be doing some good things against."
A change in the offensive scheme provided instant results for Central. After running primarily out of the I-formation in the first quarter, the Falcons spread the field with four receivers, and on three plays found the end zone.
Bauserman hooked up with junior Zach Herbaugh on a 34-yard strike down the sideline to give Central a 6-2 lead with 7:22 left in the half.
"We realized that the run worked for a play or two and it just kind of stalled out," Bauserman said. "I saw that the corner was on the inside of him, and I knew that if I could just get it to his outside shoulder he would be able to make a play. He made a great catch."
Central struck again on its next possession when Poston made a leaping grab in the end zone on a 10-yard pass from Bauserman, capping a 70-yard drive that took just over three minutes.
The Falcons took a 14-2 lead into halftime and extended the lead quickly in the third quarter.
After a 30-yard kickoff return by Umstead to open the half gave Central great field position at its own 48, Bauserman and the offense converted a pair of third downs to reach John Champe's 29-yard line.
On first-and-10, Bauserman found Poston again, this time on a streak down the sideline, and Poston beat John Champe's John Hall to the ball for the score to put Central up 21-2 with 7:59 to play in the third.
Bauserman started the night completing just two of his first seven passes, but ended up completing 14 of 26 attempts.
"[Bauserman] did throw some very good balls and we saw some match-ups that were in our favor," said Yew. "Anytime they put a small corner out there on Poston is a match-up that we feel like we can win."
Central's defense scored a safety of its own on a fumbled snap on a Knights punt attempt later in the third, and Bauserman found Umstead wide open down the middle of the field for a 39-yard touchdown to give Central a 30-2 lead with 3:04 left in the third quarter.
John Champe scored its first touchdown at home this season on a 9-yard run by Jack Monine (18 carries, 42 yards) with 1:54 to play in the fourth quarter.