By Tommy Keeler Jr.
PURCELLVILLE -- Central football coach Mike Yew knew from the moment he saw them in middle school that this year's senior class was going to be special. Even though the Falcons' season came up short on Saturday there's no question he was right.
"It's a great group," Yew said. "They'll be missed. They set a nice little legacy here at Central High School. They've done things as seniors that no other class has done."
The Falcons fell to Loudoun Valley, 34-6, but the impact of the 21 seniors on the team will certainly be felt for years to come.
Central's football program struggled for most of the last 25 years until the current group came along. Josh Gum and Kolton Poston started from the time they were freshmen and quarterback Hayden Bauserman joined them later in the season.
Two years ago, aided by the large group of sophomores, the Falcons surprised many by winning the Bull Run District title. They started the season 0-4, but made the playoffs and finished the season 6-6.
They defeated Windsor on the road in the playoffs, for the first playoff win in school history.
Central followed that up with another great season last year, capturing yet another district title. They knocked off then-undefeated Strasburg in the regular season and again in the playoffs to advance to the third round of the playoffs.
"It was definitely a fun group to play with," Bauserman said of the senior class. "We made a lot of history at this school. We would have liked to have made it to the state semifinals -- we would have been the first team to do that. It's unfortunate that we didn't, but we still made a lot of history at this school."
This season was expected to be another great one for the Falcons, and although there were a few ups and downs, the seniors didn't disappoint.
Central's two losses in the regular season came by a combined two points, and both games were in overtime. Unfortunately for the Falcons, one of those losses helped give Clarke County the district title.
In the playoffs, Central came up with two more impressive wins, before falling to the Vikings on Saturday.
Even though they weren't able to make it to the state semifinals, the players understood that they had a lot to be proud of.
"We're definitely proud," Bauserman said. "We had a good year this year. We had a couple letdowns early on. We're a resilient team and we fought through it."
Central senior Justin Bauserman said it wasn't just the seniors who helped make the great season they had.
"It's a team effort," he said. "You got the practice kids. You got everybody out there helping you get better. The coaches have really improved a lot over the last few years. And I think we all came together and we made our runs, but came up a little short."
The Falcons went 20-6 over the last two seasons, and won 26 games over the last three years.
Most of the 21 seniors have played together for a very long time, and they've grown closer and closer.
What the players accomplished on the field will last a long time, but the bond that they developed may last a lifetime.
"We're all tight. We're all friends. Win or lose that doesn't change," Central senior lineman Josh Gum said. "Throughout our whole career we've always been together. I love them all to death."
"I think we're all really close, and we'll all be together for a long, long time," Justin Bauserman said.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd