By Tommy Keeler Jr.
Central knew going into last week that it was going to be a big one. The boys soccer team had three games and the Falcons were going to need some leaders to step up. That's exactly what senior forward Stephen Hamrick did.
Hamrick scored five goals and had two assists to help lead the Falcons to a perfect 3-0 week.
"Stephen is always a spark for our team," Central coach Ted Poor said. "The other teams are aware of his ability. He has a nice shot. He's got good speed. He's got good movement. He's a dangerous player."
Hamrick is the Northern Virginia Daily's Male Athlete of the Week for the week of April 28-May 4.
On April 30, the Falcons beat Madison County 6-1. Hamrick scored the game's first two goals and then assisted on the third one. That helped give the Falcons a 3-0 lead and they didn't look back.
"He was very instrumental in getting us off on the right foot against Madison County," Poor said.
Two days later, the Falcons faced Rappahannock County on the road, a team they struggled with on the road last year.
Hamrick started things strong for the Falcons once again. He had a goal and an assist to help give the Falcons a 3-0 halftime lead. He then added another goal on a through ball in the second half.
Poor said Hamrick's speed is one of his biggest strengths.
"When he gets a through ball, it's hard for anybody to catch him," Poor said.
Hamrick capped his week off with a goal against Shenandoah County rival Strasburg on Friday. The Falcons won the game 2-1.
Once again Hamrick scored the game's first goal to give Central a 1-0 lead. It came eight minutes into the second half on a pass from Nathan Spencer.
Hamrick now has 15 goals and five assists on the season. The Falcons have 29 goals as a team this season. He now has 61 goals in his high school career.
Poor said he's really proud of how Hamrick is also looking for his teammates.
"Other teams are marking him, and putting two guys on him, and now he's starting to lay off some and look for other players," Poor said. "He's learned to use that to his advantage. I think that's been his biggest improvement this season."
The Falcons had a very inexperienced team this season. Poor said the team had 11 new faces to the team, and it took a while for the team to jell.
Central started off 0-3, and eventually fell to 3-4-1. On April 23, the Falcons played defending Group A state champion George Mason and lost 2-1. The game helped turn things around for the Falcons, who lost 6-0 to the Mustangs earlier in the season.
"I think that was huge for the team's confidence," Poor said. "Since that game, the guys have really been working as a unit -- I think that's been the most important thing."
Since then the Falcons tied Clarke County 1-1, and then won the three games last week. Central has two more big games this week at William Monroe and then home with Manassas Park. The Falcons still have a shot at finishing fourth in the district and earning a home game for the district tournament.
Hamrick is nearing the end of his high school career and Poor said he's loved having him on the team.
"I've coached Stephen all the years he's been here," Poor said. "I can remember seeing him play in the county rec program, and I was drooling to have him on the team. He's a special player. He has gifted speed. He has good body movement.
"He's been great this season. The Bull Run District is a tough district. To have 15 goals at this point is very good. He's doing exactly what I was hoping for this season."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org