Central’s defense rises to occasion
By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK — The playmakers were everywhere on Saturday afternoon for Central.
Averaging over 40 points per game, the offense receives plenty of attention, but in the Falcons’ 22-14 win over Poquoson it was their defense that was making the big plays.
Central forced four Poquoson turnovers and came up with every big stop when it needed to.
“I think our defense stepped up great today,” Central senior defensive back Justin Bauserman said. “We all did a great job. Not just one person stood out. I think we all stood out.”
Early in the game things weren’t looking too good for the Falcons on defense.
On the first 12 carries of the game Poquoson ran for 152 yards, so Central decided to switch things up.
“We started out in a 5-3 [defense] with me playing up in man to man,” Bauserman said. “It was working there for a little bit, but then they kept running right down the gut, right down the gut, right down the gut. So, we adjusted things, went to a 4-4 [defense]. I really think after that we shut them down. We did great in the 4-4.”
Bauserman got an interception on the next drive, which led to another Central touchdown and a 14-7 lead at the half. The last 13 rushing attempts of the first half the Falcons gave up only 27 yards.
A big key was stopping Poquoson fullback Grayson Boyce. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound senior had 63 yards on his first six carries, but only 40 yards on his last 12.
“We’re used to agile and quick players,” Central senior linebacker Hamilton Argueta said. “[Boyce] was quick, but was big. So we just started hitting him low, and we were able to take him down.”
Poquoson had great field position throughout the second half, but time and again the Falcons’ defense rose to the challenge with a bend but don’t break mentality.
The Islanders had momentum on their side with the game tied at 14-14 late in the third quarter. Poquoson quarterback Johnny Pryce connected with Mitchell Petain at the Central 28, but Bauserman knocked the ball out and Argueta was there to make the recovery.
“I knew they were going to try to jump on me, so I had to try to roll to the other side to get away from all them,” Argueta said of his recovery. “That helped us out a lot. That changed the game.”
Central then drove down for the game-winning touchdown. Poquoson had one last chance late in the game, but on fourth-and-4 from the Central 40, Kolton Poston and Argueta made the big stop on running back Ethan Bryce to seal the win.
The players said that teamwork was stressed to the defense all week.
“This whole week we were told not to be selfish, and play as a team, rally to the ball,” Argueta said. “That helped us out a lot.”
Bauserman said the key to the team’s success on defense is that they’ve played together for so long.
“We’ve been playing football with each other since 8th grade,” Bauserman said. “We know what we have to do. We all trust each other. It’s just a good group.”
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd