Wildcats, Rams looking for late-season momentum

Warren County's Robert Rutherford upends Central's Trey Riley during first-half action on Oct. 1 in Woodstock. The Wildcats play at Strasburg tonight. Rich Cooley/Daily file

Warren County and Strasburg have a chance to finish the season with a surge and both teams have experience in doing that.

The two teams meet at 7:30 tonight at Strasburg, and it could be a pivotal game for both teams.

Both squads finished the season strong last year before advancing to the playoffs, and each team is looking to repeat the feat this year.

“Last year we were 0-5 until our homecoming game, we won that and won three out of the four games after that,” Warren County junior Brendan McMackin said. “I’m thinking this year we can do something with that. Win out and get a good seed for the playoffs.”

Strasburg started 1-3 last year before winning the last six games of the regular season, and the players haven’t forgotten that.

“We started our streak last year around this point, and we finished off winning every game,” Strasburg senior Austin Schlentner said. “Hopefully we can do that.”

The Rams started this season off 3-0, but have struggled especially on offense. The Rams have been shut out in back-to-back contests.

Strasburg had negative total yards in last week’s loss to Clarke County. Schlentner, a wide receiver, said everyone must step up.

“Offensive line has got to block. Quarterbacks, running backs have got to execute, and us receivers we got to block for our running backs and run our routes,” Schlentner said. “I think once we get our offense clicking again and we start coming together, I think it will run pretty nicely.”

The Wildcats are coming off a big come-from-behind victory. Warren County beat William Monroe, 14-13, on a touchdown pass from quarterback Robert Rutherford to McMackin in the final minutes of the game.

Rutherford said he is hoping the win can be a turning point for the team.

“I was just so excited, not only for myself, but everyone on our team and the coaches and everyone,” Rutherford said. “I kind of feel like that’s a point we can build on, and turn the season around off of that win.”

Rutherford has put up solid numbers this season for the Wildcats, and has had plenty of options to throw to. The Wildcats have three receivers with at least 10 receptions.

Schlentner, also a defensive back, said he looks forward to the challenge of going against a good passing team.

“I think it makes you nervous, for me I think I would like that a lot,” Schlentner said. “It gets you excited for the game. …I think all of our defensive backs are ready and we’re switching some things up, and I think it will be a good game for us.”

Even though the Rams have lost three games in a row, Schlentner said that he feels like the team is ready to turn a corner.

“I think its important that we start getting back on track,” Schlentner said. “We started out really strong. Every team has bumps and bruises along the road, but its just how you come back from that It’s taken us a couple weeks, but we’re starting to finally get back there.”

Rutherford said that the team is approaching every game like a must-win, and it means even more to him and the rest of the seniors.

“Just knowing it’s senior year, you’ve got possibly four or five more games left, everything’s a must win now,” Rutherford said. “…I feel like we’ve lost some games that could have went either way, and we’re on the right track. We’ve learned how to win games now instead of lose them.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com