Undefeated Falcons set for showdown with Gladiators

Kyle Clanton Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK — Central is facing one of its toughest opponents tonight when the Falcons host Riverheads.

The Gladiators are the defending Class 1 state champions, but are coming off their first loss of the season to Robert E. Lee.

“(Riverheads) Coach (Robert) Casto’s done good things down there for the last 15, 20 years,” Central football coach Mike Yew said. “And it’s probably one of the five most established programs in the state, to be honest with you. So it will be a big challenge for our kids and hopefully we’ll get a ‘W.'”

The Gladiators (7-1) run the double wing offense. The Falcons saw the double wing offense last week when they played George Mason. However, Yew said that Riverheads adds a few more wrinkles to the offense than George Mason does.

Yew said that the Gladiators want to keep the ball on offense and limit the number of possessions for their opponents.

Zach Abrams Rich Cooley/Daily

“You got to get off the field on defense,” Yew said. “You got to get some stops to have a chance, because they’re very comfortable with a 14-play, 70-yard drive. They have no problem doing that. That caters to what they want to do.”

The Gladiators are averaging 33.3 points per contest, while allowing just 10.6 per game.

Riverheads likes to run the ball, and are led by fullback Dalton Jordan.

Central junior Kyle Clanton said that the Falcons need to just keep playing like thay have been all season.

“The D-line’s just got to do what they’ve been doing, just getting in the backfield and disrupting plays,” Clanton said. “The linebacker’s flying to the ball, and us safeties and corners just play over top and do our things well.”

The Falcons are averaging 57 points per contest and allowing just 8.1 per game.

With the playoffs around the corner, Central junior linebacker Zach Abrams said that the game against Riverheads will be much like a playoff game.

“There’s going to be competition in the playoffs, so we got to play this game like it’s (a playoff game),” Abrams said.

Central is currently the No. 2 ranked team in Class 2, Region B. If the Falcons win their last two games they will move to the top spot and have home field throughout the regional playoffs.

The Falcons (8-0) haven’t had any really competitive games this season, but Clanton said he feels like the team will be ready when they have a close game.

Yew said that he feels like his team has done a good job of staying focused despite the lopsided wins. He said they still have a lot to play for and be motivated about.

“You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, but we do talk about the things that are out there,” Yew said. “Central’s never had a perfect season. Central’s never had home field all the way through. I told the kids you don’t want to lose the last game you ever play in the regular season here. While the kids are not looking ahead, we’re not getting two or three games down the road, we are still looking at big goals.”

Yew said that he feels like the team could have played better than it did against George Mason, and he wants to see his team play better as a team this week.

“We had five or six plays in that game that we didn’t do what we had been coached up to do all week,” Yew said. “And as coaches we want to play team football. We don’t want kids feeling like they got to do it all, or this kid has to get 12 tackles, or this kid has to get four sacks. We want to play team football. We want 11 guys getting to the football, and 11 guys being a part of what we’re doing.”