Falcons jump on Wildcats early, roll to win

Central's Alonzo Charity runs to the outside on a pass play as Warren County's Paul Bragg pursues him during first quarter action Monday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – If Central High School senior Marshall McAboy had any worries about the Falcons’ football team suffering a letdown after an upset victory over Clarke County on Sept. 23, those concerns washed away quickly Monday night.

Taking on Warren County in a game pushed back several days due to the area’s recent bout with soggy weather, the Falcons established momentum early with a touchdown on their opening drive Monday night and never lost control in a 36-15 road victory in Bull Run District action.

“Part of me thought that half the guys were gonna be out here thinking, ‘Oh we beat Clarke, we deserve the rest of these wins,’ said McAboy, who scored twice for the Falcons. “But I mean tonight kind of showed that we came out here, we had the same dedication we had against Clarke, the same mindset, and we’re not letting up any. I hope that stays the same the rest of the season.”

Central’s offense, which churned out 401 yards against the Wildcats (1-4, 0-2 Bull Run), set the tone for the night on the first possession of the game. After a 34-yard kickoff return by Kyle Clanton to midfield, the Falcons (4-1, 2-0) used 12 plays to cover the 50 yards to the end zone and took a 7-0 lead on Carston Shockey’s 1-yard plunge with 6:13 left in the first quarter.

Central converted three fourth downs on the drive.

Warren County's Cam Ford looks for extra running room after receiving a pass as Central's Saxon Franklin grabs him from behind during the first quarter of Monday's game in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We came out and we wanted to jump on them in the first half and continue that in the second half, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Falcons junior receiver Alonzo Charity Jr., who caught three passes for 48 yards and scored a rushing touchdown.

“(The first drive) helped us come out and let them know that we were prepared for the game and we weren’t gonna hold back at all.”

The Falcons’ next possession, an 11-play drive, ended on downs at the Warren County 22, but Central was back in the end zone early in the second quarter. Starting at their own 49, the Falcons used a 12-yard run by Shockey and an 18-yard pass from Zeb Dyer to Christian Spitler to reach the Wildcat 21 before a trio of runs by Shockey ended with the senior’s 6-yard touchdown run.

Shockey’s 70-yard interception return for a touchdown on Warren County’s next possession was negated due to a block in the back, but the turnover ultimately set up Central’s third scoring drive of the night. Starting at the Wildcat 35, the Falcons lost 5 yards on first down before Charity made a spinning grab for 31 yards along the sideline with a defender in his face to set Central up with first-and-goal at the 9.

Charity later scored on a wide receiver sweep on third down from the 5 – the Wildcats’ defense bit on a play-action fake to McAboy (11 carries, 55 yards) – to put the Falcons up 22-0 with 4:06 left in the first half.

Central quarterback Zeb Dyer prepares to unleash a pass as Warren County's Knorr Hunter rushes him during first quarter action Monday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Warren County got on the board with a 61-yard touchdown pass with 3:13 left in the half when quarterback R.J. Keeney (6 of 8, 115 yards, one interception) hit Marqwon Haley on a quick slant before Haley (five catches, 114 yards) streaked untouched to the end zone, but Central quickly answered.

The Falcons drove 57 yards on six plays, capping the scoring drive with a 31-yard pass from Dyer (9 of 18, 133 yards passing) to McAboy that sent Central into halftime with a 29-7 lead.

Central, which had 16 first downs (11 in the first half), finished with 268 yards rushing on 49 carries (5.5 yards per rush) in the win while finding consistent success with toss plays to the outside against Warren County’s five-man front. Shane Watson led the Falcons’ rushing attack with 11 carries for 90 yards while filling in for Shockey (18 carries, 79 yards, 2 TDs), who sat out the entire second half after taking a hit that left him with some “soreness and stiffness” around his neck, Yew said.

Central also held Warren County to just 9 yards rushing in the first half.

“We haven’t always been a real physical team and I think … that’s kind of a personality we’ve kind of taken on the last couple weeks,” Yew said. “I’m really proud of our kids just trying to fly to the ball. Sometimes you miss but if you miss, maybe you make the kid make a cut and somebody’s there’ to clean it up.”

Central's Matt Bromley hauls in a pass as Warren County's Brian Dickerson pursues him during a game on Oct. 3 in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

In a move Warren County head coach Steven Crist made to give his team a spark, the Wildcats opened the second half with Cam Ford (6 of 11 passing, 57 yards) at quarterback, and the dual-threat senior promptly marched his offense to Central’s 37 on 11 plays before a timely hit on a Wildcat receiver popped Ford’s pass into the air before it was snagged by Falcons senior linebacker Matt Bromley.

“I think that was one of the daggers that really got them starting to doubt themselves,” McAboy said.

The Wildcats, who finished with 298 total yards and had 11 first downs in the second half, drove into Central territory on their first three drives of the second half – including one trip down to the Falcons’ 8-yard line – but failed to score.

“We moved the ball 30 to 30 pretty well I think, but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone on any of those drives in the third quarter,” Crist said.

“We’ve gotta make plays when there are plays to be made.”

Central's Alonzo Charity tries to ward off Warren County's Michael Carter after catching a pass during the first half of Monday's game in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Warren County briefly cut Central’s lead to two scores when Brett Dickerson scored on a 20-yard run with 5:31 to play, but the Falcons returned the ensuing onside kick attempt to the Wildcat 28 and scored on McAboy’s 21-yard scamper with 3:57 left.

Both teams return to action again Friday night, with Central hosting Madison County and Warren County traveling to William Monroe.

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

Box score

Falcons 36, Wildcats 15
Central 7 22 0 7 – 36
Warren County 0 7 0 8 – 15
First Quarter
C: Shockey 1 run (Croom kick), 6:13.
Second Quarter
C: Shockey 6 run (Shockey run), 9:18.
C: Charity 5 run (Croom kick), 4:06.
WC: Haley 61 pass from Keeney (Ashley kick), 3:13.
C: McAboy 31 pass from Dyer (Croom kick), 1:12.
Fourth Quarter
WC: Dickerson 20 run (Haley pass from Cripps), 5:31.
C: McAboy 21 run (Croom kick), 3:59.
First downs 16 14
Rushes-yards 49-268 34-118
Passing yards 133 180
Comp-Att-Int 9-18-0 13-22-2
Fumbles-lost 2-0 1-0
Punts-avg. 0-0 3-31.3
Penalties-yards 4-45 6-42
RUSHING: Central, Shockey 18-79, McAboy 11-55, Charity 3-6, Dyer 2-9, Clanton 1-9, Watson 11-90, Mullins 3-20; Warren County, Ford 7-13, Dodson 14-32, Keeney 3-11, Frantz 5-26, Petitt 3-13, Dickerson 1-20, Cripps 1-(-7).
PASSING: Central, Dyer 9-18-133-1-0; Warren County, Keeney 6-8-115-1-1, Ford 6-11-57-0-1; Cripps 1-3-11-0-0.
RECEIVING: Central, Bromley 1-11, Spitler 2-33, Clanton 1-6, Charity 3-48, Shockey 1-4, McAboy 1-31; Warren County, McMackin 1-10, Haley 5-114, Ford 2-28, Meltvedt 2-12, Vogt 1-4, Valencia 2-15.

Warren County's Michael White is wrapped by Central's Dravon Bowman, center, Alonzo Charity, left, and Marshall McAboy, right, during a kickoff return on Oct. 3 in Front Royal. Central is hosting Bluestone tonight in first round playoff action. Rich Cooley/Daily file

Warren County quarterback R.J. Keeney runs to the sideline during a game against Central on Oct. 3 in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily