Central falls short in double OT thriller to Spotswood

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

WOODSTOCK — After battling back and forth with Spotswood all game long, Central coach Mike Yew decided to go for a two-point conversion to try to win the non-district game on Friday night.

The Falcons had the exact matchup they wanted — 6-foot-4 tight end Kolton Poston against Spotswood defensive back Isaac Baker, who is 5-9 and had struggled throughout the game.

Central quarterback Hayden Bauserman threw pass to the back of the end zone and Poston came down with it — out of bounds. Central’s players laid on the ground, covering their faces as Spotswood celebrated a 49-48 double-overtime victory.

“I thought I was in,” Poston said. “I figured I was, but it happens. I’m not a ref, so I just go off of what he says.”

“We had the matchup where we had Poston and [Zach] Herbaugh — they’re both pretty tall receivers,” Bauserman said. “[Spotswood’s David Blandon] is a good corner, [Baker] is a really good corner, too, but I had Poston on him and that was the matchup I wanted. I threw it up and unfortunately it was just a little bit out of bounds.”

Spotswood coach Chris Dodson said he was really proud of Baker, who he said had “struggled at times tonight.”

“On that last play to Poston he kept tight coverage, he stayed underneath his feet,” Dodson said. “If he doesn’t do that Poston catches it in the corner easily, but by the position he was in he kept pushing him out and forced him out of bounds — tremendous coverage.”

The game was about a whole lot more than one play. Central went up 13-0 in the first quarter, on two touchdown passes from Bauserman to Justin Bauserman.

A kick return by Spotswood’s Khalil Davis to the Central 5 set up a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter for the Trailblazers.

Central (2-1) then put together a 15-play drive that stalled at the Spotswood 10.

“That third drive if we stick that in and go up 20-7 maybe they get a little down, and we go in at halftime up instead of down,” Yew said. “That’s the way things happen sometimes.”

Instead, the Trailblazers seized the momentum. A 52-yard touchdown run by Michael Hernandez, and a 1-yard plunge by Matt Slater with two seconds left in the first half gave Spotswood a 21-13 halftime edge.

The Trailblazers (3-1) increased their lead in the third quarter on another 1-yard run by Slater for a 28-13 lead with 4:24 left in the third quarter.

Hayden Bauserman then connected with Tommy Caison for a 70-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the ensuing drive to cut the lead to 28-19.

“I missed some throws to Tommy earlier, but I came back and got that one later,” Hayden Bauserman said.

The Trailblazers responded with an eight-play, 60-yard drive, capped off by another 1-yard run by Slater for a 35-19 lead with 34 seconds left in the third quarter.

With the game on the line, the Falcons’ defense started to really step up. They held Slater, who rushed for 213 yards on 41 carries, to just 17 yards on six carries in the fourth quarter.

“Their front line — I was getting hammered by some of those big hogs in there,” Justin Bauserman said. “After a while it was clicking [on defense]. We were all rolling in and being where we needed to be — hitting them.”

The Falcons used a trick play to score their next touchdown. Hayden Bauserman threw a lateral pass to wide receiver Travis Cooper, who then connected with Poston for a 55-yard touchdown. Hayden Bauserman’s pass to Zach Herbaugh on the two-point conversion cut the lead to 35-27 with 10:21 left in the game.

After having a drive stall at the Spotswood 27, the Falcons were able to get the ball back for one last drive to tie the game.

The Falcons used 11 plays to go 90 yards. Hayden Bauserman connected for a third time with Justin Bauserman for a 22-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 35-33 with a minute left in the game. Justin Bauserman came across the middle on the play, and got hit, but made sure to fall across the goal line for the score.

“I got hit hard. All I knew was I had to get that ball and come down with it in the end zone,” Justin Bauserman said. “I went up for it, came down and got hit, but I went in the end zone. That’s what I was supposed to do.”

The Falcons then lined up for the two-point conversion. Hayden Bauserman threw a pass in the back corner of the end zone to Poston, who came down with it to tie the game 35-35 and send it to overtime.

“We’ve ran that 100 times probably, and it works every time,” Poston said. “Everything worked good, and everybody did what they were supposed to. It worked out the way it should of.”

The Falcons scored first in the first overtime, as Daniel Molina ran it in on two carries for a 42-35 lead. It took four tries for Slater to do the same for Spotswood and tie the game at 42-42.

Slater ran it in from the 5-yard line to give the Trailblazers a 49-42 lead. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, Central fullback Hamilton Argueta scored to set up the final play of the game.

“In Spotswood history I can remember games that stand out — Rockbridge in 1992, Stone Bridge in 1997. Both had phenomenal endings and this is right up there with both,” said Dodson, who has coached the Trailblazers to two girls basketball state titles. “In my time coaching girls basketball, football, everything this is one that I will always remember. This is one of the tops.”

The Falcons outgained the Trailblazers, 435-369. Hayden Bauserman went 19 for 36 for 286 yards passing and four touchdowns. Molina ran for 105 yards on 27 carries. Justin Bauserman had five receptions for 72 yards and three touchdowns. Caison had four receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.

The Falcons entered the game knowing this would show them where they were at in Division 3. Despite the loss, the Falcons were proud of how they played and eager to move forward with their season.

“This is definitely a game that shows us where we are right now in the division that we’re in,” Justin Bauserman said. “We’re coming in this new division and playing new teams, and they’re probably one of the best teams in the division. I feel like we set the bar high and so did they. I feel like this was a big game and we were up there with them.”

“Our kids are crying and they should be,” Yew said. “If it didn’t hurt them, I would know it didn’t mean something. But they were crying, they were upset — it hurt. It should hurt. It hurts me, but I’m going to keep a smile on my face. We got a good football team. We got good things going here in the program, and we’re going to come back Sunday, start doing our work, and get ready for George Mason on Friday night.”

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd