By Jeff Nations
WOODSTOCK -- They didn't all come the way Central High School football coach Mike Yew drew them up last Friday night, but the Falcons coach had no complaints after watching senior quarterback Hayden Bauserman toss six touchdown passes in a season-opening 42-0 victory over John Champe.
Bauserman, a three-year starter, called an audible on at least one of those touchdown strikes, not that it was anything all that unusual.
"He has a lot of freedom to audible," Yew said. "We've talked about what's available and what are some of the checks. We have an audible system with numbers, and he has a lot of freedom with it. I wouldn't say he has complete [freedom], but I would say he has pretty amount of freedom to do things on the line when he needs to."
Bauserman's big night helped the Falcons get their season off to a strong start, and netted the quarterback The Northern Virginia Daily's Male Athlete of the Week honor for Aug. 25-Aug. 31. True to form, Bauserman tried to audible that accolade away, as well.
"A lot of the credit really doesn't go to me," Bauserman said. "My offensive line gave me great time to throw and everybody did their job. It wasn't just a one-person thing."
Teammate Tommy Caison made a strong case for claming the weekly honor, as well, hauling in three of Bauserman's touchdown strikes for a spectacular debut for the Falcons. Caison finished with three catches for 160 yards and the three TDs, but was just one of six Falcons to record a catch in the game as Bauserman (12 for 16 passing for 274 yards) did a masterful job of distributing the ball.
"I have a lot of speed at the receiver position, especially with Tommy this year," Bauserman said. "We have a pretty deep receiving corps as it is, and adding Tommy gives me a lot of weapons to throw to with [Kolton] Poston and everybody else."
Bauserman and Caison opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 41-yard touchdown pass completion. In the second quarter, Bauserman found Poston on an 11-yard TD pass, connected with Caison on a 63-yard bomb for another score, and hit Justin Bauserman on a 34-yard scoring strike to cap a breakout quarter.
Then in the third quarter, Bauserman delivered what Yew thought was perhaps the best of the bunch with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Zach Herbaugh. Seeing that Poston was double-covered on a route to the corner in the end zone, Bauserman made the right decision to find his next option.
"Instead of forcing it into Poston, he went to his second read and hit Zach Herbaugh coming across the back of the end zone," Yew said. "I think that was one of the best throws he had all night."
Bauserman finished the scoring with another long touchdown pass, a 56-yarder to Caison.
That one was Bauserman's particular favorite.
"I felt that was a pretty good throw, but I felt my best throw was probably my third touchdown to Tommy," Bauserman said. "It was just a straight vertical. Tommy's a pretty fast guy, and I think that's the farthest I've thrown in my career. I think it was in the air 50-couple, maybe, so it was pretty deep. He told me after the game that I almost overthrew him, and you can see in the film that I almost did, but he caught up to it."
Combined with a standout defensive performance and solid special teams play, Bauserman and the rest of Central's offense delivered a quality win the first time out.
"I was very proud of the way we played in every aspect," Yew said. "Offensively, defensively, special teams -- we did a lot of good things in every aspect. I thought it was one of the most complete games we've played in the last two, three or four years. We kind of clicked on all cylinders that night."
"I think they got to him a couple times early, where he had a little pressure at the last second when he was throwing," Yew said. "They're pretty good at disguising their stunts. They did it to us last year early, and last year we made adjustments and we had a lot of success throwing later. This year it was very similar. We made a couple adjustments with our running backs and who they were picking up, and once we did that I think [Hayden] had a pretty good idea of how much time he had and could see where they were coming from."
The senior, who said he's gotten some interest from a couple NCAA Division I programs and hopes to play collegiately at that level, certainly put together an impressive highlight reel to open his final season as starter.
"Usually first game, guys come out slower and just transforming from practice to a game is kind of a tough transition," Bauserman said. "It surprised me, as I'm sure it did the coaches as well, how well we came out and played."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>