By Stephen Boyle - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Justin Bauserman understands the Central-Strasburg rivalry. It's not about trophies or standings or playoff seeding. According to the Central junior, it's about manhood.
"I ain't worried about the trophies. I'm worried about kicking the snot out of somebody," he said after the Falcons 25-20 win over Strasburg on Friday night.
That's why Bauserman was able to hold onto a 17-yard pass from Hayden Bauserman on fourth down. With Strasburg leading 20-19 with less than two minutes to go Central was faced with fourth-and-10 from the Rams 30-yard line. Hayden Bauserman found Justin Bauserman over the middle for a 17-yard gain and a first down. It kept alive a 13-play, 60-yard game winning drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by Jordan Umstead. Both Bausermans were hit hard on the key fourth down play. Hayden, the quarterback, stepped into a defensive lineman as he released the ball. Justin, the receiver, allowed the play to result in a completion.
"I remember getting hit really hard and just holding onto the ball" Justin Bauserman said. "I'm going to be sore tomorrow, but I ain't going to be sorry."
With 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter Strasburg had one last chance to take the lead and keep its perfect record in tact, but Justin Bauserman wasn't done making big plays on fourth downs. As the safety in the Falcons cover 2 defense he got under a Troy Gordon throw and intercepted the pass at the Central 42-yard line to seal the win. Gordon was picked off by the Falcons three times.
"I just wonder what we could've done differently," said Rams coach Mark Roller after the game.
He said a fumble the Rams caused, but failed to recover and a 54-yard touchdown pass caught by Central receiver Travis Cooper as the big plays that made the difference in the game. Roller and the Rams seniors were noticeably upset about the loss. Senior running back Rakwon White, who rushed for 238-yards and all three of the Rams touchdowns, has never beaten the Falcons in his four seasons in a purple uniform.
He did, however, finish the regular season with 2,132 rushing yards. Friday night all three of White's touchdown runs were big plays. He scored on runs of 33, 63 and 69. The 63-yard touchdown run game in the third quarter and gave the Rams a one-point lead 14-13. The 69-yarder was Strasburg's final touchdown of the game and put them up 20-19.
Jordon Umstead's 1-yard touchdown run was the decisive score in the game, but the senior also found the end zone twice in the first half. Umstead finished the game with 203 rushing yards.
For Umstead and the rest of the Falcons' seniors a perfect regular season record against the Rams means more than just Shenandoah County championships. It's bragging rights for a lifetime.
"You can talk about it 20 years from now," said Falcons coach Mike Yew. "You can talk about it 40 years from now."
Both Strasburg and Central will continue playing football in the post season. The Falcons win on Friday gives them an 8-2 record and drops Strasburg to 9-1. Both teams will likely have a first round home playoff game and could meet as early as the second round of the postseason.