By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- Something will have to give tonight when Central travels to Berryville to face undefeated Clarke County.
The Falcons and Eagles enter the Bull Run District contest with two of the top offenses and defenses in the district.
Central is averaging 46.2 points per game, while the Eagles are only allowing 9.2 points per contest. Clarke County is averaging 37.2 points per game, while Central has allowed 13.7 per game, which includes 49 in a loss to Spotswood earlier this season.
"I'm expecting a great game," Central coach Mike Yew said. "I expect it to be a very aggressive game. I expect it to be a very physical game. I think it's going to be a good Bull Run District football game."
The Falcons have played well on offense throughout the season. While a lot of attention has been given to their passing game, the Falcons have been very balanced. Central has thrown for 1,273 yards, and rushed for 1,174 yards, averaging 407.8 yards per game.
Last week Central senior Daniel Molina ran for 238 yards on 24 carries in very wet conditions against William Monroe.
Central quarterback Hayden Bauserman has thrown for 1,178 yards on 64 for 106 passing with 19 touchdowns and only four interceptions. After struggling in the rain last week Bauserman said he'd love to throw it more this week, but the main thing is getting the win.
"Last game definitely showed our balance with Daniel [Molina] running the ball really well," Bauserman said. "I'll take a win over a 300-yard game any day."
Central has four different receivers with at least 10 catches, led by Tommy Caison, who is averaging 33.5 yards per catch.
Bauserman said he thinks the running game will be key to the passing game being effective.
"I think if we come out and we can establish the run, it will definitely help us establish the play-action game," Bauserman said. "I think that's where our offense is probably at its best is play-action passing. If we can establish the run, I think we'll be all right."
Central's defense has already had two shutouts this season, and has given up only 6.6 points per game in their five wins.
The defense will be put to the test against the Eagles' single-wing offense.
"They got a tricky offense to catch on to," Central linebacker/tight end Kolton Poston said. "They got all the backs back there and we got certain reads on it. There's a lot of commotion going on."
Over the last few years, the two teams have had some very close games. Last year the Falcons beat the Eagles, 14-7, for the first time in a while.
The players said it's a fun rivalry game.
"Rivalry games are always exciting, regardless of who it's with," Bauserman said. "Clarke County-Central game -- there's not much more motivation you need, especially since they're undefeated, we're 5-1. There's a lot on the line district championship-wise. Just the rivalry, the fans, it gets it even more exciting."
The two teams are both 3-0 in the Bull Run District, and whoever wins will have sole possession of first place.
Central has won or shared the last two district titles, and the Falcons want to make it three in a row.
"We definitely want the title," Molina said. "It means a lot to us and the 22 seniors that are here. It's going to be our last year and we want that district title."
Even though the Falcons have played well all season, Yew said he thinks they still have their best games ahead of them.
"I don't think we've clicked in every aspect yet, and I'm certainly hoping that comes about either Friday or real soon," Yew said. "We have a lot of talented kids, but we're still not on all cylinders in my opinion. Maybe I'm being a little bit tough on our kids, but I don't think we've reached our full potential yet."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org