By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- George Mason came into its game with Central on Friday night looking to stop the Falcons' potent passing game. So Central showed the Mustangs just how strong their running game could be.
The Falcons overcame a slow start and pulled away for a 59-17 Bull Run District victory over the Mustangs.
"We started off really slow," Central coach Mike Yew said. "I was afraid it was going to turn into a real slugfest. George Mason's running back [Montae Noble] is extremely talented."
The Mustangs found an effective way to keep the Falcons from scoring early in the game -- don't let them have the ball on offense.
George Mason used a 12-play drive to move the ball to the Central 25 before the drive stalled out. After a three-and-out by Central, the Mustangs went 53 yards on six plays to take the lead.
Running out of the single-wing, the Mustangs had five runs on the drive, including a 38-yard run by Noble which set up a 1-yard touchdown by Connor Rhodes with 2:48 left in the first quarter.
After struggling with the passing game on the first drive, the Falcons turned to running back Daniel Molina. The senior had five carries on a 67-yard drive. Molina capped it off with a 13-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 7-6 with 1:15 left in the first quarter.
"I was very proud of the line. They did a great job blocking for me tonight," Molina said. "Brandon Phillips is out with an injury and Riley Peters stepped in and did a great job."
On the ensuing kickoff, George Mason's Alfonso Banks tried to pitch the ball to a teammate, but it fell to the ground and Central's Josh Ingle picked it up and returned it 23 yards to give Central a 12-7 lead with 1:08 left in the first quarter.
The Falcons needed only two plays to score on their next possession. After a 10-yard run by Molina, the Falcons finally found some success in the passing game.
Central quarterback Hayden Bauserman connected with Travis Cooper for a 37-yard touchdown pass and an 18-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
"It seemed like they weren't willing to give up anything deep in the passing game," Yew said. "So, we tried to hit some throws underneath and run the ball. And then later we started to have some things open up for us deep."
Central (3-1, 1-0 Bull Run)) also had success on special teams. Molina returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 25-10 lead with 2:39 left in the first half.
Later in the game, Tommy Caison took a handoff from Justin Bauserman on a punt and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown.
"We made some plays on special teams," Yew said. "Daniel [Molina] had a nice touchdown, of course he had a couple last year for us as well. And Tommy [Caison] everybody knows how fast he is. He's just a great athlete."
Noble ran for 232 yards on 25 carries to lead the Mustangs (2-2, 0-1 Bull Run).
Molina had 118 yards rushing on just nine carries, and had three touchdowns, including the kick return. The Falcons ran for 206 yards on 21 carries as a team.
Bauserman was 6 for 9 passing for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Central ran only 15 plays of offense in the first half to 40 for George Mason.
Yew said he was happy with how his team played after the slow start.
""Once we started to get things rolling we started to really hit our stride," Yew said. "We played a really good last 3 ½ quarters."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd