By Jeff Nations
STRASBURG -- The plan this season was to get Strasburg High School tight end Jonathan Kloosterman more involved on offense.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Kloosterman presents natural matchup problems for opposing defenses, problems that Rams coach Mark Roller was intent on exploiting this season.
That was the plan, anyway. Sometimes the best of intentions never see the light of day, and that's what happened in Strasburg's season opener against Stonewall Jackson. Quarterback Mark Smoot had a ragged debut as the Rams' signal caller, Strasburg found that it could run at will against the Generals and suddenly, no touches for Kloosterman.
Things improved somewhat the following week in a loss to East Rockingham -- Kloosterman tallied five catches for 52 yards.
The real breakout came last Friday, in a 32-0 drubbing of Class 4A James Wood -- a program two full levels higher in classification than the Rams. Kloosterman hauled in seven receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Kloosterman also made his presence felt at starting middle linebacker, getting part of a safety in the third quarter and blocking a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter against the Colonels.
For his week, Kloosterman is The Northern Virginia Daily's Male Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 15-21.
"I think what you get with Jonathan is he's all over the place," Roller said. "He's just a guy that we need to find a way to get the ball to. And then defensively, he's the guy that's going to make the stops for us. We depend on him a lot."
Kloosterman credited Smoot with spotting the weakness that the pair would exploit more than once in James Wood's defense.
"The linebacker was blitzing up the middle for James Wood, so it was open," Kloosterman said. "Mark saw me, so we just kept on hitting that. It was a little bit a part of our game plan, but mainly just Mark seeing it and I was getting it."
Kloosterman burned the Colonels on that audible with a streak route with went for a 39-yard touchdown pass play from Smoot in the first quarter.
"It just happens, I guess," Kloosterman said. "People forget about me and I get the ball."
They forgot again in the second quarter, and Kloosterman was wide open in the middle of the field to haul in Smoot's pass and race into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown reception.
Kloosterman, who had a key first-quarter stop during the Rams' goal-line stand that denied James Wood points, recorded some more highlight-worthy moments in the third quarter when he helped the Rams record a safety and blocked a 42-yard field goal try.
Kloosterman said having an extra week to get ready for the Colonels was helpful.
"It helped a lot," Kloosterman said. "We had a lot of time to prepare. We watched a lot of film on them, knew what they did, saw what we could do ... I just helped out a lot."
Roller is hoping last Friday's effort against James Wood is more indicative of the type of season Kloosterman will have for Strasburg this season.
"It's good for a breakout game," Roller said.
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>