Duckworth sparks Rams past Colonels

Strasburg's Grant Scott hauls in a pass and drives near the end zone as James Wood's Mike Zabarth, left, and Cody Dahlinger, right, try to tackle him during first half action Friday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG – So far this season Strasburg High School’s football team has relied mostly on its running game. On Friday night the Rams showed then can pass as well.

Strasburg senior quarterback Ethan Duckworth had three touchdown passes to help lead the Rams to a 35-14 non-district victory over James Wood.

“Hopefully this is a breakout game for him,” Strasburg coach Mark Roller said of Duckworth. “I always knew he was very capable of it. He had an outstanding performance. It doesn’t get any better than that. He was on tonight.”

Duckworth was 13 for 16 for 190 passing yards.

“Our running game wasn’t bad, but it was just a little slow running up the middle,” Duckworth said. “So we were working on the passing game. It hasn’t been very good in the earlier weeks. So we worked on it all week and just kind of helped me to get my confidence.”

Straburg's Justin Rickard cuts back to the inside as James Wood's Josh Kesner, left, and Noah Sullivan, center, try to contain him during the first half of Friday night's game in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Rams started off fast, scoring on their first possession of the game.

Strasburg moved the ball 70 yards in just eight plays, mixing in the running and passing game. Duckworth threw a screen pass to Josh Pritchett who ran 45 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 6:57 left in the first quarter.

“That pretty much set the tempo for our offense marching down the field on a pretty good football team and scoring on our first drive,” Pritchett said. “That gave us a boost of confidence – we just kept it up all night.”

James Wood (1-3) marched the ball to the Strasburg 45-yard line on its first possession, but Hunter Riley recovered a James Wood fumble at midfield.

Two plays later, Strasburg’s Austin Miller scored on a 45-yard run to give the Rams a 14-0 edge with 3:48 left in the opening quarter.

Strasburg's Stephen Kloosterman puts a hit on James Wood's William Crowder for a loss during football action Friday night in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

“Our defense was pretty much perfect tonight. We didn’t have that many errors,” Pritchett said. “Coach gave us a pep talk before the game telling us to come out here play fundamental football, don’t be the nail be the hammer.”

Strasburg (3-1) scored again on its next possession. The Rams went 40 yards on four plays. On the first play of the second quarter, Miller scored on a 1-yard run for a 21-0 lead.

The Rams took advantage of another James Wood turnover in the second quarter. Strasburg’s Brody Tomblin intercepted a pass from James Wood quarterback Dade Carroll at the Strasburg 49 with 1:33 left in the first half.

“We played great,” Duckworth said of the defense. “Everybody was running to the football – coach preaches that constantly. That’s a main key in playing defense.”

The Rams needed just five plays to score. Duckworth threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Taff with 15 seconds left in the half for a 28-0 lead.

James Wood's Cody Dahlinger, left, and Chris Lakin, center, try to tackle Strasburg's Joshua Pritchett as he bulls his way for yardage in their game on Sept. 16 in Strasburg. The Rams host Clarke County tonight in a key Bull Run District contest. Rich Cooley/Daily file

“That was a great catch on him,” Duckworth said. “It was kind of late developing. I rolled out. I was waiting and waiting and I saw a very tiny opening. So I took the chance and it worked it out.”

The Rams scored on their first possession of the third quarter. They went 43 yards on eight plays. Duckworth threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Grant Scott for a 35-0 lead.

The Colonels scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the game. James Wood’s Keegan DeHaven had a 14-yard touchdown run, and a 35-yard touchdown run.

Scott finished with four catches for 63 yards, and Pritchett had three receptions for 65 yards for the Rams. Miller led the Rams on the ground with 65 rushing yards on 10 carries.

Strasburg is off next week, and Roller said going in with a win is big for the team.

Strasburg's Justin Rickard hauls in James Wood's Keegan DeHaven during their game in Strasburg on Sept. 16. The Rams play at George Mason this week. Rich Cooley/Daily file

“You’re pleased going into the bye week and having a win – those two weeks are not as long now,” Roller said. “So our guys are sitting right where we need to sit and looking forward to a little rest here. Let some people that are dinged up get healed up, and then we’ll get back and start focusing on George Mason.”

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

Rams 35, Colonels 14
James Wood 0 0 0 14–14
Strasburg 14 14 7 0–35
First quarter
S: Pritchett 45 pass from Duckworth (Knapp kick), 6:57
S: Miller 45 run (Knapp kick), 3:48
Second quarter
S: Miller 1 run (Knapp kick), 11:57
S: Taff 11 pass from Duckworth (Knapp kick), :15
Third quarter
S: Scott 13 pass from Duckworth (Knapp kick), 7:01
Fourth quarter
JW: DeHaven 14 run (Sortino kick), 4:55
JW: DeHaven 35 run (Sortino kick), :24
First downs 12 11
Rushes-yards 37-186 25-80
Passing yards 47 190
Passing 3-10-0-2 13-16-3-0
Penalties-yards 1-5 4-20
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-0
Punts-Avg. 2-20.5 4-44.5
RUSHING: James Wood, Crowder 6-23, Carroll 7-(-17), Schrantz 11-44, DeHaven 9-95, Lakin 1-9, Rupp 1-(-3), Zebarth 1-6, Morris 1-30. Strasburg, Miller 10-65, Pritchett 2-6, Duckworth 5-4, Carter 3-3, Tomblin 3-(-4), Mason 2-6.
PASSING: James Wood, Carroll 3-10-47-0-2. Strasburg, Duckworth 13-16-190-3-0.
RECEIVING: James Wood, Bearer 3-47. Strasburg, Rickard 3-24, Kloosterman 1-8, Scott 4-63, Pritchett 3-65, Miller 1-19, Taff 1-11.