Flying High: Falcons topple Generals

By Brian Eller — beller@nvdaily.com

QUICKSBURG — When talking about Central’s offensive attack, Matt Sherfey’s arm seems to get all the credit.

Not that it shouldn’t, mind you. With 168 yards and two touchdowns in Friday’s 24-8 win over Stonewall Jackson, the Falcons senior certainly showed why his throwing skills steal the headlines.

But beyond the stat sheet is a quarterback whose legs are just as dangerous, and Friday night Sherfey’s quick moves guided Central to its second straight win and the coveted Shenandoah County championship trophy.

“You don’t get them like [Matt] every day,” wide receiver Seth Wymer said. “When something breaks down, he has the moxy in the pocket to escape some pressure, get out of there and make a couple of moves. But while he’s doing that he keeps his eyes downfield. It’s really impressive and that comes from him playing three years as a varsity quarterback.”

Wymer certainly can attest to Sherfey’s maturation over the past few years. As a fellow senior, Wymer and Sherfey have spent countless games together on the field, during which time the two have developed a connection, evidenced early on against the Generals.

After exchanging opening drives with Stonewall, the Falcons took possession with seven minutes left in the opening quarter, staring at 80 yards between them and the end zone. Sherfey had missed his first three passes to that point, but found his rhythm on the drive. With completions on his next three passes, Sherfey capped off the four-minute scoring drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Wymer, who was streaking in between the Generals’ secondary, giving the Falcons an early 7-0 lead.

Following a punt from Stonewall, Central again set up shop deep in its own territory, but it didn’t take long for Sherfey to once again move his team downfield. The highlight of the drive was a 55-yard pass to Kohly Hawkins, who took the pass into Stonewall territory. Junior running back Tyler Pattie took a handoff five yards in for the score, giving Central a 14-point cushion at the half.

“We came in with a plan and we had two weeks to prepare for this team,” Wymer said. “Our one goal was to start off the district with a win, get the county championship and I think we executed well. At halftime coach [Mike Yew] told us we were doing well, we just needed to keep it up.”

The Generals, meanwhile, had a tough time sticking to their gameplan, mostly because they couldn’t hold onto the football. Fumbles on back-to-back drives in the first half left the home team searching for answers on the ground. When they weren’t fumbling the ball, Stonewall running backs Jared Getz and Trevor Warner struggled to move the chains.

“They’re the worst [losses] when we do it to ourselves because we know we can win,” Stonewall quarterback John-Michael Pirtle said. “And we know we could’ve done a whole lot better than we did, so those certainly hurt just as bad, if not worse.”

The turnovers were certainly frustrating, but trying to bring down Sherfey seemed to cause just as many headaches for the Generals. With a penchant for passing, the Falcons’ offensive line became susceptible to Stonewall’s pass rush, which often times forced Sherfey to scramble, a consequence the Generals would soon regret.

After Stonewall finally reached the end zone on a Getz 1-yard run, Sherfey dropped back on the Falcons’ next possession for a pass nearing the end of the third quarter. His line collapsed, forcing him to scramble toward the right sideline. One by one, Stonewall jerseys tried to bring him down, but his feet kept moving, giving his receivers time to get open.

Wymer, who had finished his route, noticed his quarterback in trouble and began searching for any open area. Suddenly, Sherfey and Wymer’s eyes seemed to lock. Sherfey let loose a long throw to Wymer, who jumped up and caught it with plenty of open space. After getting by a lone Stonewall tackler, Wymer rushed in for the 52-yard touchdown, swinging momentum back to the Falcons and clinching Central’s first district win.

“[My job is to] find open grass,” Wymer said. “Me and Matt, we’ve played together for 12, 13 years so that’s something that we have. It’s communication. We pretty much just look at each other and know what we’re going to do.”