Eagles run past Rams in district battle
STRASBURG — Strasburg hung with Clarke County for a half, but the Eagles pulled away in the second half Friday night.
The Eagles single wing offense ran for 435 yards en route to a 49-20 victory.
“It was a story of two halves,” Strasburg coach Mark Roller said. “We played well the first half and kind of fell apart the second half. And you give a team like that opportunities, and turn the ball over, and they capitalize and it’s going to be a long night.”
The two teams traded touchdowns in the first four minutes of the game.
The Eagles (7-1, 1-1 Bull Run) went 63 yards in just five plays to take a quick 6-0 lead. Clarke County running back scored on a 26-yard run for the score with 9:36 left in the opening quarter.
Strasburg (3-4, 1-1 Bull Run) came right back in just two plays. Strasburg running back Austin Miller broke loose down the right sideline for a 58-yard touchdown run to give the Rams an 8-6 edge with 8:49 left in the first quarter.
“Austin made a good cut and he finished it off with a long run,” Roller said. “I think that was kind of energizing for our guys. And we were able to build off of that.”
The Eagles came right back with a seven-play drive that went 65 yards. Clarke County running Peyton Rutherford went 31 yards for the touchdown and a 14-8 lead with 5:38 left in the opening quarter.
An interception by Strasburg’s Brody Tomblin on the first play of the second quarter set-up another Rams’ score.
Miller scored again for the Rams on a 3-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14 with 9:22 left in the first half.
The Eagles came right back with a nine-play, 59-yard drive. Rutherford capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 21-14 lead with 5:14 left in the half.
On Clarke County’s next possession it appeared the Rams might have them stopped. Clarke County was facing a fourth-and-14 from the Strasburg 31-yard line, the Eagles used a double handoff and Rutherford broke free for a 31-yard touchdown run and a 28-14 lead with 1:08 left in the first half.
“That was a big play for them,” Roller said. “And that’s something that we have to do a better job of. We’ve done that multiple times this year. And it’s not good for us, and it’s a back-breaker.”
The team traded punts to start the second half, but then the Eagles recovered a Strasburg fumble at the Strasburg 20-yard line.
Rutherford, who finished the game with 266 yards rushing and five touchdowns, scored on a 12-yard run with 3:51 left in the third quarter.
They pulled away for good with back-to-back touchdowns early in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles were coming off a 40-0 loss to Central last week, and Clarke County coach Chris Parker said Friday’s win was just what the team needed.
“You never know after a disappointing loss how the kids are going to respond,” Parker said. “And I was proud. We were focused, ready to play. It’s always tough to play here. They’ve always played us tough over the years. It’s always a battle. And I was really happy, and really respect how we came out in the second half. We came out ready to play the whole game.”
Miller led Strasburg’s offense with 88 yards rushing on 11 carries.
The Rams have a young squad, and Roller said the important thing is for his team to keep improving.
“Each week is something that we can build on win or lose,” Roller said. “And I know (Former Strasburg) coach (Glenn) Proctor’s always said for every sophomore you start it’s a loss. And some years that’s true and some years it’s not. So we’re going to learn from it — all these kids. And certainly we got some guys there that are stepping up. And we’re going to just kind of move forward and see where we can get.”