Falcons complete first undefeated regular-season in school history
STRASBURG — Central made history on Friday night.
The Falcons capped off the school’s first-ever undefeated football regular season with a 42-6 Bull Run District victory over Shenandoah County rival Strasburg.
“It means the world,” Central senior Varsey Bright said. “Nobody’s done that in Central history. So us doing that is a big accomplishment. It’s a goal. We can be the only one to say that we went 10-0, undefeated.”
Central coach Mike Yew said he was very proud of the way his kids played during the regular season and the accomplishment they achieved.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Yew said. “It means a great deal. I just told the kids this school’s been around 58 years and it had never been done. And it’s a tremendous honor for our staff and for our kids, for our community, for everybody involved with Central High School.”
The Rams (5-5) put up a fight early on. Central took advantage of great field position on its opening drive. A 5-yard punt by Strasburg punter Trevor Sager gave Central the ball at the Strasburg 20-yard line.
Central junior running back Shane Watson ran the ball five straight times, and scored on a 1-yard plunge for a 7-0 lead with 7:45 left in the opening quarter.
On the first play of Central’s next drive, the Falcons fumbled and the Rams recovered at the Central 16-yard line.
Strasburg used several different formations to start the game to throw the Falcons off and it worked at times.
Strasburg running back Austin Miller took a snap out of Wildcat formation and ran for 13 yards to the Central 3-yard line. On the next play, Miller bobbled the snap and then threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Kloosterman to cut the lead to 7-6 with 4:19 left in the first quarter.
“We were able to hang with them there early on,” Strasburg coach Mark Roller said. “And of course they turned the ball over, and we were able to capitalize. But the thing we didn’t do is we didn’t hold onto the ball. And against teams like that if you turn the ball over they’re going to turn those turnovers into points.”
The Falcons (10-0) went 49 yards on six plays on the ensuing drive. Central senior Kyle Clanton scored on a 7-yard run for a 14-6 lead with 56 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Central needed only two plays to score on its next drive. Watson scored on a 41-yard touchdown run for a 21-6 lead with 9:50 left in the first half.
Watson, who ran for 126 yards on 16 carries in the win, said the offensive line did a good job throughout the game for the running backs.
“They were pretty good,” Watson said of the offensive line. “They opened up holes, did as they were told — did their jobs.”
The Rams put together a drive on the ensuing possession. Strasburg went 46 yards in six plays to move the ball to the Central 20-yard line, including a 30-yard pass from Strasburg quarterback Chase Hart to tight end Grant Scott.
The drive stalled as the Rams lost 5 yards on the next four plays, including a sack by Central’s Dean Woodwell, and Strasburg turned the ball over on downs.
Roller said there were a few plays here and there that hurt the Rams during the game.
“We’re young, and when you’re going against a team as good as Central then we can’t make as many mental mistakes as we did,” Roller said.
It didn’t take long for the Falcons to strike. Bright caught a 25-yard pass from Central quarterback Zeb Dyer. Two plays later, Bright ran the ball on an end around and scored on a 45-yard touchdown run for a 28-6 lead with 4:16 left in the opening half.
“I like being a running back,” Bright said. “I like waiting for the blocks and seeing the holes. And I just seen the hole and I just did what I do.”
The Falcons scored again before the end of the half with two big plays by Clanton and Bright. Clanton took a pass from Dyer on the left side of the field weaved in and out of numerous Strasburg tacklers as he cut back to the opposite side of the field and went 48 yards to the Strasburg 12-yard line.
Two plays later, Bright caught a 12-yard pass from Dyer for a 35-6 lead with 12 seconds left in the half. Bright said he and Clanton, who made a key block on the touchdown, make a strong combination for the Falcons.
“It’s great. I tell him just do what he does,” Bright said of Clanton. “And he makes plays like that, so after he’s tired. So we have two great receivers — me and him. And once he’s tired I step into the slot and do the job. He blocked great — executed. It was a great play.”
Both teams advance to the Class 2, Region B playoffs. The Rams, who have been battling numerous injuries throughout the season, will be the No. 8 seed and play at Bull Run District rival and top-seed Clarke County on Nov. 10.
“I think what our kids have to understand is we got to regroup after tonight and were not done,” Roller said. “I know we’re not full strength. But the thing is we’re battling, and we just got to keep fighting. And if we do that then good things will happen.”
Hart threw for 147 yards on 12-for-21 passing.
Dyer went 5-for-8 for 99 yards passing for Central.
The Falcons held the Rams to minus-3 yards rushing on 24 carries.
Despite going 10-0 and beating Clarke County, 40-0, earlier this season, the Falcons will be the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. They will host Buffalo Gap on Nov. 10 in the first round of the playoffs.
Yew said the team’s focus now is on the playoffs and trying to advance out of regionals.
“You got to win three games to get to states,” Yew said. “And that’s our goal now is to win the next three, and then we’ll start all over again.”