Falcons ready to face strong Leemen squad
WOODSTOCK — When Central squares off with Robert E. Lee, the Falcons will face a different style of team than what they typically see.
The second-seeded Falcons hosts Robert E. Lee at 7 p.m. tonight in the Region 2B football playoff semifinals. The Leemen use a spread offense and like to throw the ball.
“They probably do throw the ball more than most teams, and they got a big wide receiver,” Central coach Mike Yew said. “They got a kid out there about 6-4 who can make plays.”
The Leemen (10-1) are led by quarterback Jayden Williams, who is a threat to throw or run with the ball. Williams was the Shenandoah District Offensive Player of the Year. Williams has thrown for 1,910 yards and 22 touchdown passes. He also has rushed for 616 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Tre Simmons is a 6-foot-3 wide receiver, who was a first-team All-Shenandoah District selection. Simmons has 27 receptions for 506 yards and five touchdowns.
Yew said they have more players than Simmons who can catch passes. Robert E. Lee junior Kavon Robertson and senior Tacorrious Strother were both second-team All-Shenandoah District selections. Robertson has 22 catches for 315 yards and eight touchdowns, and Strother has 18 catches for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
“They got two other kids, that when they go to their three-receiver set, two kids that can just run real well,” Yew said. “And they make plays as well — they can catch. They’re very talented at what they do.”
Robert E. Lee senior running back Devin Williams was a second-team All-Shenandoah District selection. Devin Williams has rushed for 774 yards and nine scores.
Yew said that except for the fact that Robert E. Lee runs out of the spread-formation and the Falcons run out of the I-formation the two teams have a lot of similarities.
“They have good speed at the skill kids,” Yew said. “And they have a good offensive line. They have a left-handed quarterback. We have a left-handed quarterback. So when you think about (tonight), it’s going to come down to execution and who makes the least amount of mistakes.”
Central senior Bryan Davis said he expects it to be a challenging game for the Falcons.
“They’re very big, physical, but they have to come down here with our crowd,” Davis said. “And we have a very big, physical team. We have speed. So we just got to use what we have and put some wrinkles in it, I guess.”
Central (11-0) has been led all season by junior wide receiver Kyle Clanton, who has 22 receptions for 635 yards and nine touchdowns. Clanton, The Bull Run District Offensive Player of the Year, has also rushed for 381 yards and 12 scores. Senior wide receiver Varsey Bright has 14 catches for 353 yards and 10 carries for 170 yards and four scores. Central quarterback Zeb Dyer has thrown for 1,210 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Central junior running back Shane Watson has 1,159 yards on 135 carries with 18 touchdowns.
Defensively, Bright has 12 interceptions to lead the secondary. Senior defensive lineman Dean Woodwell has nine sacks, while junior defensive lineman Declan Franklin has 70 tackles and seven sacks.
The Falcons are coming off of a 42-14 victory over Buffalo Gap.
Yew said that he was very pleased with how his players performed against the Bison.
“Buffalo Gap is a good football team,” Yew said. “If you look at their schedule this year they were in every game they played. So I was very proud of our kids. I thought we played well in all three facets of the game.”
Yew said that the Falcons had a good week of practice leading up to the game, and he expected that to continue this week.
Yew said in the playoffs it all comes down to execution and limiting mistakes.
“At this point in the season we’re down to the last 16 teams,” Yew said. “Everybody’s good and you got to play well. If you don’t play well your season will be over that quickly.”