Rams looking to keep momentum going against Eagles
STRASBURG — After rallying for a big win last week, Strasburg is hoping to use the momentum to its advantage on Friday.
The Rams host Bull Run District rival Clarke County at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles are coming off a loss to Central.
The Rams (3-3, 1-0 Bull Run) beat previously undefeated George Mason, 22-21, in the final minute of the game. Strasburg coach Mark Roller said the win was big for his team.
“I think it was really big for our kids, and ends a two-game losing streak, and puts us at 1-0 in the district,” Roller said. “And ultimately the goal is to win the district. If we can take care of business (Friday) then we’re back sitting there at 2-0 again. And so I think for our kids it’s a confidence booster.”
One of the biggest keys to the game will be the play at the line of scrimmage for both teams.
Clarke County (6-1, 0-1 Bull Run) is led by Bryan Wallace on both the defensive and offensive lines.
Wallace is a key part of the Eagles’ ability to run the football in the team’s single wing offense.
“I think their lineman are way above average in what they’re doing,” Roller said. “And Wallace is just a man amongst boys. So they’re not very small up front either. So we gotta do things that we’re coached to do this week. And hopefully be able to slow them down. As far as size-wise, we don’t match-up very well, but neither did David with Goliath.”
Clarke County sophomore Peyton Rutherford has 1,429 yards rushing this season and 20 touchdowns. However, last week Central kept Rutherford and his teammates from scoring in a 40-0 Falcons’ victory.
Roller said the Eagles are just as strong defensively and return quite a few players from last year’s team.
The offense has steadily improved for the Rams throughout the season.
Strasburg sophomore quarterback Chase Hart threw for 255 yards and one score last week. Strasburg wide receiver Brody Tomblin had the bulk of the catches with six receptions for 146 yards.
“Brody’s a player,” Roller said. “He’s always wanting the football. He wants to be around it. Whether it’s offensively or defensively he does a good job. And certainly he’s a big part of the offense that we want to get him the ball. And when he does he’s able to make some plays.”
Roller said teams have focused on stopping Strasburg’s run game and forced the Rams to throw the ball more lately. However, the passing game has been solid and the team has several options to throw the ball, too. Tomblin, Stephen Kloosterman, Trevor Sager and tight end Grant Scott have all had big games receiving this season.
“They do good. Most of the time they run good routes and they just catch the ball,” Hart said of the receivers. “Coach Roller always talks about the YAC — the yards after the catch. They do pretty good with that, getting five-to-six yards after they catch the ball. It really helps us move the chains.”
Roller said he was very happy with the way his team competed and didn’t give up against George Mason. The Rams turned the ball over on downs with about four minutes left, but were able to get the ball back and score in the last minutes of the game.
“It was an eye-opener for me to see the poise, that not only Chase (Hart) had, but the rest of the team,” Roller said. “Because we could have really easily folded after we turned the ball over on downs, but we didn’t. We just kept plugging away — and that’s just kind of been the motto of the year. We haven’t talked about that a whole lot, but that’s just what the kids do. It’s surprising that they haven’t given up. I think that shows a little character on their part.”