Hoover, Falcons run through Rams

Central's Timothy Sloan goes up to defend a pass to Strasburg's Adam Miller in the second quarter of Friday's game in Strasburg. Miller missed the pass, but Sloan was flagged for pass interference. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG – Central opened up its playbook last week but on Friday night against Shenandoah County rival Strasburg, the Falcons stuck to what they do best.

Falcons senior running back Hank Hoover carried 31 times for 247 yards and four touchdowns, and Central topped the Rams 27-6 for its sixth straight win and its eighth victory over Strasburg in their last nine meetings.

“I’ve played Strasburg all my life, since second grade, and knowing it was my last year it was just great to come out with a win,” Hoover said. “Plus, you know, it was not an easy win but it definitely wasn’t (something) to worry about. We came out … and we played 11-on-11 and we saw what 11 was better.”

Central (6-3, 4-1 Bull Run), which tightened its grip on a Group 2A East playoff spot with the win, dominated the Rams statistically, out-gaining Strasburg (5-4, 2-3) 409-116 in total yards of offense while also forcing three second-half turnovers and five sacks.

“I don’t know how dominating it really was,” Falcons coach Mike Yew said. “I just thought we did a lot of things – it was a physical game, both teams. It’s always good to get a win no matter what the score is because it is a rivalry game and both teams come in jacked up and ready to go.”

Central's Hank Hoover runs for a twenty-one yard gain during the second quarter Friday against Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Both teams traded punts for most of the first half before Hoover and the Central offense found a rhythm. Beginning their fourth drive of the game from their own 38, the Falcons marched 62 yards in six plays, with Hoover accounting for all of that yardage on the ground. His 37-yard run down to the Rams’ 3 set up his first touchdown run that gave the Falcons a 6-0 lead with 5:30 left in the second quarter.

“In the beginning I think you could see it was kind of rough,” said Hoover, who averaged 8 yards per carry. “I think it was just a little antsy and nervous. Big rivalry game, a lot of people were out here tonight. … About the end of the first quarter it just started opening, I think everyone was getting used to it. You saw the effects.”

Strasburg’s lone touchdown came later in the first half, as a Central personal foul on a fair catch during a Falcons punt gave the Rams great field position at the Central 31. A questionable pass interference call on the next play moved Strasburg up to the 16, and a run by wide receiver Trevin Howard on a trick play netted 13 yards down to the 3. Rams quarterback Adam Miller plunged into the end zone on the next play to tie the game at 6-all with 1:51 left in the second quarter.

That would be the highlight of the night for the Rams’ offense, which went three-and-out five times in the loss. Central held Strasburg to just 49 yards rushing, led by senior Justin Carr’s 37 yards on 11 carries.

Alex Sibert, Trey Riley, Matt Edwards, Hoover and Matt Bromley each had a sack for Central.

Strasburg's Justin Carr, left, tries to chase down Central's Varsey Bright on this run during Friday's game in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We shut down the run and we made them have to pass,” said Falcons senior linebacker Brandon Braithwaite, who snagged an interception in the third quarter. “We just shut it down. We went back to what we were doing. Everybody was doing their job, we were doing it good. We’ve got a great group of guys out here doing their job and their job only, making sure it gets done.”

Central answered the Rams’ touchdown with a quick six-play, 53-yard scoring drive that Hoover capped with a 10-yard run, giving the Falcons a 12-6 lead going into halftime.

The Falcons defense kept that momentum in the second half, as Bromley recovered a fumble at the Strasburg 41 on the third play of the third quarter. On Central’s next play, Hoover raced through a big hole on the right side of the line and took it 41 yards to the end zone to put the Falcons up 20-6.

“I looked and it was just big enough for an 18-wheeler to fit on through and I just cruised right on through,” said Hoover.

Central finished with 332 yards rushing.

Strasburg's Justin Carr runs for yardage as Central's Bryan Davis, left, and Timothy Sloan, right, prepare to bring him down during Friday's game in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Hoover’s lone mistake Friday night came when he threw an interception on a halfback pass – a play Yew admitted was a “terrible call” on his part – from Strasburg’s 19 in the fourth quarter, as Rams senior Trevin Howard made a leaping grab at the 2. However, Hoover redeemed himself by sacking Rams quarterback Adam Miller on third down, forcing a fumble and recovering the ball.

Hoover scored from 7 yards out on the next play to put Central up 27-6 with 5:49 left.

Central quarterback Jordon Hosaflook completed 8 of 15 passes for 77 yards. Braithwaite caught three passes for 41 yards while Tristan Rau had four catches for 32 yards. Varsey Bright carried four times for 41 yards before leaving the game early in the second quarter.

Miller, who spent most of the game scrambling away from pressure, completed 9 of 19 passes for 67 yards. Seven of his completions went to Howard, who had 49 yards receiving.

“We’re struggling in all facets of the game right now,” Rams coach Mark Roller said. “We’re just not making any plays. We had success running the football a few times and then the next time we’re just not able to do things.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com

Strasburg's Trevin Howard avoids Central's Trey Riley as he runs to the sideline during their game on Oct. 30 in Strasburg. Both Central and Strasburg have big games this week that will determine playoff seeding. Rich Cooley/Daily file

Box Score
Falcons 27, Rams 6
Central 0 12 8 7 – 27
Strasburg 0 6 0 0 – 6
Second Quarter
C: Hoover 3 run (kick blocked), 5:30.
S: Ad. Miller 3 run (pass failed), 1:51.
C: Hoover 10 run (pass failed), 0:31.
Third Quarter
C: Hoover 41 run (Hosaflook run), 10:11.
Fourth Quarter
C: Hoover 7 run (Croom kick), 5:49.
First downs 17 10
Rushes-yards 50-332 32-49
Passing yards 77 67
Comp-Att-TD-INT 8-16-0-1 9-19-0-1
Punts-avg. 4-30.8 6-36.0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 4-2
Penalties-yards 8-80 1-15
RUSHING: Central, Hoover 31-247, Hosaflook 4-17, Bright 4-41, Riley 6-30, Rau 1-(-4), Bry. Davis 1-1, Crider 2-1, Abrams 1-(-1); Strasburg, Carr 11-37, Pritchett 1-1, Ad. Miller 18-2, Howard 1-13.
PASSING: Central, Hosaflook 8-15-77-0-0, Hoover 0-1-0-0-1; Strasburg, Ad. Miller 9-19-67-0-1.
RECEIVING: Central, Bright 1-4, Rau 4-32, Braithwaite 3-41; Strasburg, Howard 7-49, Schlentner 1-11, Pritchett 1-7.