Falcons’ season ends with playoff loss to Bison

BUFFALO GAP – Central High School’s football season came to an end in the first round of the Group 2A East playoffs Friday night.

The Falcons couldn’t slow down the wing-T rushing attack of Buffalo Gap while failing to capitalize on a pair of key drives into Bison territory in the first half as Central fell 41-14.

“It was a frustrating first half,” Falcons coach Mike Yew said. “I don’t wanna take anything away from Buffalo Gap – that’s a good team, well coached, kids play hard – but we had a couple opportunities on offense in the first half. … It was frustrating because I think it could’ve very easily been a 14-all game at halftime or even a 6-all game at halftime.”

Instead, Central (6-5) trailed 20-6 at the break after failing to generate points on two drives deep into Buffalo Gap territory, while surrendering 258 yards to the Bison in the first half.

Buffalo Gap finished the game with 436 yards rushing – 482 total – led by bruising senior fullback David Mullins, who carried 25 times for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Austin Comer (8 carries for 75 yards), Tristan Anderson (13 carries for 66 yards) and Dylan Thompson (47 yards rushing) also scored rushing touchdowns for the Bison.

“He made some plays, “ Yew said of Mullins. “He’s a good player. … They block down, they kick out and if you’re not disciplined on your defensive front it’s really, it’s a tough play to stop. We were disciplined so many times, had so many opportunities and then it was just kind of like we would take a break, a mental break, and make a mistake. You can’t make a mistake against teams that are well coached like that.”

The Falcons had a chance to seize some early momentum, as senior running back Hank Hoover broke off a 35-yard run on the game’s first play to move Central to the Gap 30. But the drive stalled from there and Central lost a fumbled handoff on fourth-and-1 at the 21 to give the ball to the Bison.

Buffalo Gap capitalized, going 77 yards on seven plays and finding the end zone on Comer’s 34-yard scamper to take a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

Central came right back with it’s own scoring drive on the next possession, an eight-play, 72-yard march that ended with Hoover’s 29-yard to tie the game at 6-6 with 4:42 left in the first quarter.

“We moved the ball, I thought, fairly well all night,” Yew said. “A couple times early in the second half we came out kind of flat, which was frustrating, but throughout the first half, I mean, I thought we went up and down the field. We just made some mistakes.”

Hoover finished with 177 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 25 carries for the Falcons. He had 96 yards on his first nine touches before the Bison defense settled in, limiting Hoover to just one run over four yards on his next 12 carries before he broke a 35-yard run to set up his 12-yard score with the game well in hand in the fourth quarter.

“A little slow start but they’re good at a lot of what they do,” said Gap coach Andy Cline, whose team advances to play No. 12 Stuarts Draft next week. “They run the ball hard. That back (Hoover), he’s a tough kid. I thought once our kids settled in we played pretty well.”

Buffalo Gap came right back with another scoring drive on the next possession, taking a 14-6 lead on Mullins’ one-yard plunge late in the first quarter, set up by a 20-yard pass completion from Lucas Wheeler to Anderson on third down from the Central 21.

Senior linebacker Brandon Braithwaite gave the Falcons a jolt with an interception and 24-yard return into Gap territory, and a personal foul on the Bison on the play gave Central good starting position at the 30.

But the Falcons couldn’t convert, turning the ball over on downs at the Bison 15.

Buffalo Gap scored with 1:38 left in the first half on another Mullins one-yard run, and the Bison came right out of halftime with an 11-play, 69-yard touchdown drive to take a 27-6 lead.

“We kind of spit and sputtered the first half, we got down close and didn’t score (at the end of the second quarter),” Cline said, “To come out that first drive of the second half and go down and score was big for us.”

The Bison extended their lead to 34-6 on Anderson’s 31-yard touchdown run – his second score of the third quarter – before Hoover’s second score cut the deficit to 20 points with 9:21 to play. Buffalo Gap was back in the end zone two plays later on Thomspon’s 46-yard run.

Central finished with 251 total yards of offense, including 178 yards rushing, and three turnovers. Senior quarterback Jordon Hosaflook completed nine of 18 passes for 73 yards and an interception.

Central began this season 1-3 but was able to return to the playoffs after missing out on the postseason in 2014.

“All in all I thought these seniors and this whole team played hard,” Yew said. “We couldn’t ask anything more out of them. We made some mistakes throughout the year that we’d all like to have back but things happen for a reason. These kids will persevere. They’re a good group. They’ll be successful young men in the world and they’ll be good citizens in our community.”

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

Box Score

Bison 41, Falcons 14
Central 6 0 0 8 – 14
Buffalo Gap 14 6 14 7 ¬- 41
First Quarter
BG: Comer 34 run (run failed), 7:41.
C: Hoover 29 run (kick failed), 4:42.
BG: Mullins 1 run (Z. Thompson pass from Wheeler), 1:38.
Second Quarter
BG: Mullins 1 run (run failed), 1:38.
Third Quarter
BG: Anderson 4 run (Comer kick), 7:17.
BG: Anderson 31 run (Comer kick), 0:01.
Fourth Quarter
C: Hoover 12 run (Bry. Davis pass from Hosaflook), 9:21.
BG: D. Thompson 46 run (Comer kick), 8:38.
First downs 9 16
Rushes-yards 36-178 47-436
Passing yards 73 46
Comp-Att.-TD-INT 9-18-0-1 3-11-0-1
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-1
Punts-avg. 2-26.0 1-35.0
Penalties-yards 6-38 5-25
RUSHING: Central, Hoover 25-177, Shockey 2-7, Hosaflook 1-(-1), Crider 2-7, Bran. Davis 3-(-1); Buffalo Gap, Comer 8-75, Mullins 25-215, Anderson 13-66, D. Thompson 3-47, Wheeler 1-9, Callison 6-19, Lotts 1-5.
PASSING: Central, Hosaflook 9-18-73-0-1; Buffalo Gap, Wheeler 3-11-46-0-1.
RECEIVING: Central, Braithwaite 2-13, Bright 3-36, Rau 2-8, Hoover 1-6, Shockey 1-10.