By Stephen Boyle - firstname.lastname@example.org
Troy Gordon will get one more chance. The Strasburg senior quarterback has never beaten Central, but after leading his team to a 35-14 playoff win over Nottoway, Gordon will get to take on the Falcons one more time.
"We kind of want our rematch against Central, we're not going to lie," Gordon said after the win. "We're probably hungrier than we've been all year."
The Rams (10-1) trailed early in their home playoff game on Saturday. Nottoway drove the ball 41 yards on the first drive the game and a 1-yard Johnny Coombs touchdown gave the Cougars a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter Coombs faked an inside handoff to running back Trequan Burtt that fooled Strasburg's defense and allowed Coombs to run up the middle untouched for a 44-yard touchdown.
"We were about five plays away from being up 21-0 at halftime," Nottoway coach Grayson Throckmorton said.
However, the Rams were not stifled by the early lead. On the very next drive Gordon threw a 68-yard bomb to Tommy Caison for the Rams first touchdown of the game. The pass came on third-and-long and resulted in Strasburg's second first down of the game. Caison finished with two catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Nottoway was able to get into the red zone on its following possession, but Strasburg junior Jonathan Kloosterman blocked a field goal on fourth down. The ball went off Kloosterman and into the hands of Troy Gordon, who returned the block 77 yards all the way down to the Cougars' 8-yard line. However the drive stalled and Strasburg was faced with a fourth-and-goal from the 15-yard line.
"We put ourselves in a position to score and were unable to run it in," Strasburg coach Mark Roller said.
But instead of a field goal it was again Troy Gordon who stepped up for Strasburg. The Rams sent Caison in motion across the formation and Gordon found him on a wheel route for the tying score with less than three minutes remaining in the half. Gordon completed six of his 10 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
"I thought he played tremendous," Roller said of his quarterback. "He did a good job of throwing the ball."
The second half was all Rams. Rakwon White started off the scoring with a 34-yard touchdown scamper. He had 146 yards on the ground and also caught a 13-yard screen pass. Then Gordon found Kloosterman in the end zone on a 19-yard pass to make the score 28-14.
It was the touchdown throw Gordon remembered the best. As he rolled right to buy time he pointed to the open corner of the end zone and Kloosterman broke off his post route and headed for the empty spot in the Nottoway zone.
"On the pass plays that were called I needed to make the best of them," Gordon said.
In the fourth quarter, fullback Darius Lozado punched in a 1-yard touchdown. Lozado is another one of Strasburg's 11 seniors that will get one last chance to beat Central on Friday. That game will be at Central at 7 p.m.
"I think it's an opportunity for them to try and seize," Roller said. "Their guys are going to be pumped up and our guys are going to be pumped up. You can't ask for a better scenario."