By Brad Fauber
WOODSTOCK -- It seems as though every game this season, a different receiver has emerged as that go-to threat in Central's high flying passing attack. The Falcons' playmaking ability has been that diverse, and even head coach Mike Yew probably struggles to pinpoint which Central receiver is next in line for that breakout game.
In last Saturday's 39-16 win over Thomas Jefferson in the first round of the Class 3A East playoffs, it was senior Justin Bauserman who rose to the occasion.
Bauserman, The Northern Virginia Daily's Male Athlete of the Week for Nov. 10-16, hauled in four passes for a season-high 134 yards (33.5 yards per catch) and two touchdowns in the win, turning in perhaps his best offensive performance since catching three touchdowns passes in a loss to Spotswood in Central's third game of the season.
"I don't think it's fair to say that we look for one guy. We've got so many receivers who have caught so many balls this year. But Justin just made some big plays," Yew said. "One week it's been Tommy [Caison]. One week it was Travis [Cooper]. One week it was Kolton [Poston]. Zach [Herbaugh] had a big game. So we've had four different receivers, maybe five, lead us. But Saturday was Justin's time. It clicked for him. He made some great plays."
Bauserman was fairly quiet on offense in the first half of Saturday's win, but the 6-foot, 156-pound speedster made a huge impact for the Falcons over the final two quarters.
With Central leading 19-0 midway through the third quarter, Bauserman caught a pass from Falcons quarterback Hayden Bauserman on a quick slant rout. Justin Bauserman -- a two-time state track and field champion in the 300-meter hurdles -- spun out of a tackle, dodged another Vikings defensive back and was gone for a 43-yard touchdown.
"That first one, that was my favorite," Justin Bauserman said. "It was a check route and Hayden saw that the slant was wide open because the safety was coming up, so he just checked me to a quick slant and he just hit me with the ball real quick. As soon as I caught it I just got outside the safety and just right down the sideline."
Justin Bauserman found the end zone for a second time early in the fourth quarter, as he and Hayden Bauserman hooked up for a 26-yard score that put the Falcons up 39-8 with just over eight minutes left to play.
"That was just a show-and-go, and Hayden threw a good ball to me and laid it right out there where ... only I could get it. It was just a good ball," Justin Bauserman said.
In addition to his two long touchdown catches, Justin Bauserman also hauled in a 47-yard pass in the second quarter that helped set up a 12-yard strike from Hayden Bauserman to Poston that put Central up 19-0.
Justin Bauserman was one of seven different Falcons receivers to catch a pass on Saturday, and he admitted that it is sometimes difficult to find ways to get the ball to each one of Central's receivers during the course of a game.
"It is hard. Not everybody is going to get the ball every game. I think we all know that and we all just do our job and do our part in the game," he said. "If you get the ball then you better make something happen. That's all there is to it."
Justin Bauserman has now caught 19 passes this season for 448 yards (23.6 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns, but his contributions to Central's football team isn't restricted to the offensive side of the ball. As a defensive back for the Falcons, Bauserman has recorded 68 tackles (45 solo), and he leads the area with six interceptions this season.
"He's a true football player," Yew said, "and I don't say that about a lot of kids because a lot of kids just do football things. But Justin Bauserman, I remember watching him in the ninth grade, he had a nose for the ball, especially on defense. He would come up and he would make big plays. He just has a sense of deciphering what's coming and processing what he sees and just is in the right place at the right time. He really is a true football player."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD