Fast start propels Eagles past Rams

ELKTON — East Rockingham’s high-powered offense struck quickly on Friday night and Strasburg couldn’t keep up.

The Eagles started off fast on their way to a 35-8 non-district football victory over the Rams. It was the second straight 35-point game for the Eagles.

“I think their quarterback’s pretty good and then they got a core of receivers that can catch it,” Strasburg coach Mark Roller said. “Their running back is very elusive and we had a hard time tackling him, so when you put all those phases of the game together it’s hard to come out with a victory.”

It didn’t take the Eagles long at all to take the lead. East Rockingham’s Javon Butler gained 15 yards on a reverse on the first play from scrimmage.

On the next play, East Rockingham’s J’wan Evans ran 51 yards for a touchdown just 47 seconds into the game.

“Any time you score first it just kind of takes the pressure off a little bit,” East Rockingham coach Donnie Coleman said. “You can just kind of pin your ears back and play.”

The Eagles added to their lead on a six-play 79-yard drive later in the first quarter.

East Rockingham quarterback Jaylen McNair connected on back-to-back passes to Prophecy Kisamore and Logan Comer for 22 and 13 yards respectively. Evans followed that up with a 23-yard run. Two plays later, East Rockingham’s Chandler Breeden scored on a 10-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead with 3:02 left in the first quarter.

“We have some athletes that can run,” Coleman said. “We try to get them in space and our quarterback did a nice job of distributing the football too.”

The Rams put together their best drive of the first half on their next possession. Strasburg’s Austin Miller ran for 15 yards. Then Strasburg quarterback Ethan Duckworth connected with Grant Scott for a 51-yard gain to move the ball to the East Rockingham 12-yard line.

However, the drive stalled as the Rams lost a yard on first down, followed by three straight incomplete passes.

“I’m pleased with the way we moved the ball in the first half, but we got to do a better job of when we get to the red zone of being able to put points on the board,” Roller said. “It’s something that we’re going to have to work on this week and get better at that.”

The Eagles (2-0) responded with a 12-play 87-yard drive. Evans capped it off with a 14-yard touchdown run for a 21-0 lead with 6:48 left in the first half.

The Rams moved the ball to midfield on their next possession, but East Rockingham’s Griffin Morris intercepted a Duckworth pass and returned it to the East Rockingham 46-yard line.

On the next play, McNair connected with Butler for a 54-yard touchdown pass and a 28-0 edge with 2:17 left in the first half.

A Strasburg fumble recovered by East Rockingham’s Ivan Ritenour led to another touchdown pass from McNair to Butler with 1:11 left in the opening half.

“They scored 35 points and 14 points of those came off the turnovers,” Roller said. “… You take that away and the score — it’s only 21-0 there. But when you do that to good teams — give them the ball back — then they’re going to beat you and that’s just what happened tonight.”

The Rams (1-1) scored in the fourth quarter. Strasburg’s Justin Rickard recovered an East Rockingham fumble at the East Rockingham 20-yard line. Five plays later, Miller ran it in from the 2 with 8:42 left. Duckworth’s pass to Stephen Kloosterman for the 2-point conversion cut the lead to 35-8.

Miller ran for 101 yards on 20 carries. It was only his second game at tailback. The junior played at tight end last year for the Rams.

“You can see glimpses of him being able to see things,” Roller said of Miller. “I think it’s going to take him a couple games. I would like for it to be sooner than later, but he’s new at that position. So he’s eventually going to get the hang of it.”

Evans finished with 142 yards on 10 carries for the Eagles. McNair threw for 126 yards on 8 for 11 passing.

Coleman said he’s very pleased with his team’s 2-0 start this year.

“We got some veterans. We got some young kids too. We got kind of a weird mix,” Coleman said. “We got a lot of older kids and a lot of sophomores playing. They worked really hard in the off season. They got after it this off season, probably one of the best groups I’ve ever been around.”

The Rams had 193 yards rushing. Duckworth was 6 for 15 for 91 yards passing.

“Ethan (Duckworth) did a good job of operating the offense. That was a bright spot,” Roller said. “We just need to put everything together in all facets of the offensive scheme. Once we start to do that I think we’re going to start to see some points being put on the board and some yards being totaled up.”

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

Eagles 35, Rams 8
Strasburg 0 0 0 8–8
East Rockingham 14 21 0 0-35

First quarter
E: Evans 51 run (Comer kick), 11:13
E: Breeden 5 run (Comer kick), 3:02

Second quarter
E: Evans 14 run (Comer kick), 6:48
E: Butler 54 pass from McNair (Comer kick), 2:17
E: Butler 21 pass from McNair (Comer kick), 1:11

Fourth quarter
S: Miller 2 run (Kloosterman pass from Duckworth), 8:42
First downs 12 12
Rushes-yards 38-193 24-205
Passing yards 91 126
Passing 6-15-0-1 8-11-2-0
Penalties-yards 2-15 4-30
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-2
Punts-Avg. 3-36.3 2-37.5

RUSHING: Strasburg, Miller 20-101, Pritchett 5-16, Duckworth 4-28, Mason 5-8, Carter 3-37, Tomblin 1-3. East Rockingham, Evans 10-142, Butler 1-15, Breeden 2-19, McNair 2-14, Comer 2-10, Bailey 2-1, Dove 3-7, Brown 2-7.

PASSING: Strasburg, Duckworth 6-15-91-0-1. East Rockingham, McNair 8-11-126-2-0.

RECEIVING: Strasburg, Taff 1-8, Miller 2-12, Scott 1-51, Rickard 1-5, Pritchett 1-15. East Rockingham, Comer 3-36, Rogers 1-10, Butler 3-80, Kisamore 1-22.