Central rushes past Riverside

WOODSTOCK – Several backs gashed Riverside for big yardage Friday night as Central dropped visiting Rams 48-20 on homecoming night for the Falcons.

“Coach (Mike) Yew always says that the offensive line sets the tone and then it’s time for the backs to run,” said Central’s leading rusher Carston Shockey, “and that was the way it was tonight. The line blocked well and the fullback (Matt Bromley) made some holes. All it took us today was run through them.”

Shockey, the area’s leading rusher, paced all the running backs on the Central High School football field as he carried the ball for 224 yards and two touchdowns.

But the senior, who switched from wide receiver to the backfield this season, was being a little humble.

Most surely, linemen like sophomore Declan Franklin did their jobs – the team rushed for a total of 361 yards, but Shockey, Shane Watson (76 yards, 1 touchdown), Kyle Clanton (24, but three all-purpose touchdowns) and Bromley (24 yards, 1 score) enjoyed blocking by Franklin and others, but they also made some yards on their own.

As he has been through this 6-1 season, Shockey did as much damage to various Rams’ defenders as they did  to him.

“The thing about the offensive line is,” Declan said, “the better we can block for them, the better they run for us.”

Chemistry, in other words.

“We’re a pretty good running team,” said Yew, “we’d like to throw it more but the way we were going tonight, it’s hard to get everything in.”

But they did enough.

With the exception of a first-offensive play whiff on the part of the Falcons, they pretty much cruised the rest of the way.

“Got to give the defense some credit, too,” Franklin said, “they played better in the second half.”

The game started inauspiciously for the Falcons, who gathered for the annual homecoming game, including the class of 1966, which was specially remembered at the stadium.

Central spotted Riverside (2-6) a 7-0 first-quarter lead then came back to score on three consecutive possessions in the second period for a 28-14 intermission advantage.

There was plenty of offense, but first the Falcons got a scare.

Lanky quarterback Trevor Jackson dropped back and found speedy Marcus Hickman over the top of the Central defense and the wide receiver raced to the end zone for the first points of the game. Riverside’s point-after kick was good and the visitors had an early 7-0 lead with only eight seconds having elapsed.

That’s the way the first quarter ended, but Central decided to do some scoring itself in period two.

On the very first play of the frame, Falcon fullback Bromley scaled over the line of scrimmage from 6 yards out. Clifton Croom’s kick was good and Central had tied the game on homecoming night. Only three seconds had elapsed in the quarter.

With the game tied, the Falcons jumped ahead on their next possession.

The touchdown scorer was Shockey, who bolted over left tackle and ripped off a 46-yard scoring run. His blast was his seventh carry of the possession that started at the Riverside 26. Croom’s kick was good and the Falcons were ahead 14-7 with 5:20 remaining in the first half.

Again Central got the ball after the Rams’ punt and put a drive back into the end zone.

Bromley began the drive with an 18-yard burst and, after a holding call on the Falcons, it was the home team’s time to go up top.

Central quarterback Zeb Dyer (93 yards, one touchdown passing) threw a diagonal pass to his own speedster, Kyle Clanton.

The 138-pound sophomore gathered in the ball and raced 53 yards for the 6 points. Following the long bomb, Croom’s point after was good and the homecoming fans were happy.

It was 21-7 with 1:58 to go until intermission.

Three touchdowns came in the next 30 seconds.

After a long kickoff return by Riverside’s Marcus Hickman, Jackson threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Drew Lewis. The conversion counted and the Rams cut it to a one-possession game, 28-14. There were 100 seconds remaining in the first half.

Just as quickly, it was Clanton carrying the kickoff return home for the score. He picked his way through several tacklers. Croom’s kick gave the Falcons a 28-14 lead with 1:28 to go.

Riverside drove its possession to the Central 23 with 1.2 seconds left. Bromley made sure the drive died with a sack.

Central wrapped two touchdowns around one for Riverside as the second half continued.

On the Falcons first drive of the third quarter, Shockey did most of the damage as quarterback Zeb Dyer and his Central offense moved the ball from their own 30 down to the Ram 3.

From there, it was Watson who crashed in from the 3-yard-line. His touchdown put the Falcons ahead 34-14 though the kick was blocked. The scoreboard clock showed 6 minutes, 15 seconds left in the period.

Less than a minute later, Riverside was on the board.

Jackson, who made his first start at quarterback for the Rams, tossed a screen to Drew Lewis who hauled it 55 yards and a Ram score. There was a bad snap on the extra point, so the score was 34-20 in favor of the Falcons with 5:32 showing on the clock in the third quarter.

Central got the ball back and with it 6 more points.

On the fourth play of a drive, Dyer flipped a screen to Clanton, who did the rest of the work with his feet. The receiver burst 31 yards for the 6. The 2-point conversion failed, though the score was 40-20 with 4:02 showing in the third quarter.

After a defensive stop, Shockey took a pitch and rounded right end for 54 yards and the 6-pointer. Dyer busted over for the 2-point conversion and the score was set at 48-20 with less than a minute remaining in the third frame.

The victory by Central is important for postseason playoff positioning because for the Virginia High School League  Group 2A Falcons, it was a win over a 3A school from Loudoun County. Riverside is in its second season of football.

The Falcons were rated by the VHSL power-point system as the No. 3 team in their region, while the Rams were No. 19 in their larger group.

The Falcons are 3-0 at home this year.

Central 0 28 20 0-48

Riverside 7 7 6 0–20

Contact Jim Laise at sports@nvdaily.com