Unbeaten Falcons set to take on George Mason

Central's Hunter Mullins finds running room as Clarke County's Bryan Wallace closes in during a game on Oct. 6.Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – For the entirety of the 2017 high school football season up to this point, Central has managed to keep its focus solely on its next opponent. There’s no need to change up that formula now.

The Falcons have rumbled their way to a 7-0 record and jumped to No. 2 in the VHSL Region 2B playoff ratings following last week’s dismantling of Madison County. Next up is Bull Run District foe George Mason as Central seeks to remain unbeaten with a 7:30 p.m. home game tonight.

“We’ve taken the approach one game at a time,” Falcons head coach Mike Yew said Tuesday. “That’s all we can do. That’s all we’ve done since the beginning of the season and nothing changes now. There’s no secret we’re 7-0. The kids know it, the community knows it, we know it, but we cannot get ahead of ourselves.”

Central (2-0 Bull Run) has out-scored opponents 404-57 this season after last week’s 77-0 drubbing of Madison, during which the Falcons set a new school record for points scored in a game for the third time this season.

George Mason (5-2, 0-1) enters Friday’s matchup on a two-game slide after opening the season 5-0. The Mustangs’ losing streak includes a 21-20 loss to Strasburg on Oct. 6 and a blowout loss to George C. Marshall (Class 6) last week.

Though the Mustangs are averaging 32.7 points per game, they’ve scored just 28 total points over their last two games but do feature a pair of running backs in Jack Felgar and Finn Roou who are each on pace to finish with over 1,000 yards rushing in Mason’s double-wing offense.

“They like to do what they do. They don’t call allot of plays. They’re very good at what they do. They get in behind their line and they’re perfectly fine with churning our three or four yards a pop,” Yew said of Mason’s offense. “They’d rather run the clock down and grind it out. … We’ve gotta get them into some opportunities where it’s a second-and-long, third-and-long, so that we can hopefully make them do something other than just pounding it in there.”

Central’s defense is limiting opposing teams to 8.1 points per game. The Falcons have posted back-to-back shutouts and have three total this season.

“Our kids just have to make plays,” Yew said, “hold them to a 1-yard gain, maybe a 1-yard loss. When you change the play call from second-and-6 to second-and-10, then hopefully you change third down from third-and-2 to third-and-8, then good things happen for you.”

George Mason’s defense is allowing 23.6 points per game, and Yew said the Mustangs shift between 3-3 and 4-4 looks.

“Their linebackers really fly to the football,” Yew said. “It looks like they have one key and they go, so on the snap of the ball when they see whatever their key is, they’re gone. I mean there’s not hesitation, there’s no wondering, they just take off. You’ve gotta get your guys to the ball to meet them.”

Central’s offense has been impressively efficient, averaging 57.7 points per game.

Junior running back Shane Watson (835 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns, 9.9 yards per carry) leads a power running game that the Falcons complement with explosive big-play ability behind fleet-footed receivers Kyle Clanton (30.3 yards per reception, 18 total TDs) and Varsey Bright (27.7 yards per reception).

“We’ve just gotta play. That’s all it’s going to come down to the rest of the season, regular season and playoffs,” Yew said. “We’ve said all year we have to be who we are and we like to line up and pound it. We like to take shots when they’re available and we like to make plays with our skill guys when they’re available. But we have to line up and play, be who we are and just play football every Friday night.”