Falcons not taking winless Cougars lightly

Central's Varsey Bright runs the ball along the sidelines during Friday night action against Stonewall. The Falcons play at Manassas Park tonight. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK — Central has won its first two games of the season decisively and plays a winless Manassas Park tonight. However, the Falcons are not taking the Cougars lightly.

Central coach Mike Yew said he has told his team to take things one game at a time, and stay focused on each game.

“We certainly haven’t talked about who we play down the road,” Yew said. “Our focus is on Manassas Park and when Manassas Park is over, win or lose, our focus will turn to week 4. So we’ve told our kids all along we will be as good as we are Monday through Thursday. If we’re good on Monday through Thursday we’ll be good on Friday nights. That’s our selling point. That’s what we’re trying to work on right now.”

The Falcons defeated Stonewall Jackson, 64-7, last week and Yew said he saw a lot of positive things from his squad.

Central has run for 537 yards in two games this season. The Falcons showed how much balance they have by passing for 160 against the Generals.

Central's Shane Watson celebrates after a touchdown run on Sept. 1 against Stonewall. Rich Cooley/Daily

Central senior wide receiver Varsey Bright said having the strong running game really helps open up the passing game.

“The defense moves a lot of linebackers inside because they know that we can run,” Bright said. “And if they put the linebackers outside against us then we’ll just run it right up the middle. And I think our offensive line does a great job. Our running backs do a great job making their reads. And then coach Yew, he calls a passing play and it’s always wide open.”

Central junior quarterback Zeb Dyer went 5-for-5 for 131 yards and two touchdowns against Stonewall Jackson.

Special teams also looked very sharp against the Generals as junior Kyle Clanton scored on a 99-yard punt return in the victory.

Yew said the play of the two lines will be a big key against Manassas Park.

Central's Christopher Conner breaks away from Stonewall's Jake Gaete on this second half play Friday night in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

“They’ve got a lot of size,” Yew said. “Their size stands out across the board. They’re really big in the middle. It should be an interesting match-up with their line and our line — two good-sized lines.”

The Cougars are led by running back A.J. Simon. Yew said that stopping Simon will be a challenge.

“They got a tailback that’s a pretty talented kid,” Yew said. “…We want to fly to the ball and gang-tackle him.”

Manassas Park quarterback Andre Kidd completed only one pass last week in a 49-0 loss to Clarke County.

Central’s defense was stifling against Stonewall Jackson. The Falcons held the Generals to just 90 yards of offense.

Central head coach Mike Yew watches action along the sidelines on Sept. 1 against Stonewall. Rich Cooley/Daily

Yew said he’s been very happy with what he’s seen from his defense this season.

“We had a couple question marks here and there,” Yew said of his defense. “We’re slowly filling those question marks, and  slowly things are coming into play. And I think what we want to do is unfolding in front of us. We’ve played a little bit with a four-man, a five-man front and even a three-man front. So right now as we game plan each week we have to decide which front will put us in the best situation to stop our opponent, but at the same time for what makes Central the best team it can be defensively.”

It’s the first time in a number of years that Central and Manassas Park will be playing each other. The Cougars used to be in the Bull Run District with the Falcons but are now in the Northwestern District.

Yew said the schedule changes so much that it makes it harder to develop rivalries.

“It would be nice if we could get to the point where we keep opponents and play the same opponents every year,” Yew said. “For us it stinks, because it makes it even harder for us to develop rivalries. For us the only rivalries we have is Stonewall, Strasburg, Clarke County and Madison that are close to where the kids know each other and have kind of that rivalry effect. So other than those three games there is nothing else.”

Bright said that he feels good about where the Falcons are at as a team and how focused the team is staying each week.

“I feel like the team is coming together,” Bright said. “Everybody’s on the same page. Everybody has the same goal, which is to go far in the playoffs and hopefully go to states. I feel like we have good practices and we have bad practices. But at the end of the day when it comes to Wednesday, Thursday we’re mentally focused and mentally prepared for the game.”