WOODSTOCK — Central couldn’t have asked for a much better opening football performance than what it received last week. This week, the Falcons are hoping to keep the momentum going against a solid Brentsville squad.
Central plays against Brentsville at 2 p.m. today. The game is being played at Patriot High School in Nokesville on a turf field.
Central coach Mike Yew said that Brentsville will be a challenge for his squad.
“They’re disciplined,” Yew said. “That’s a good team. We knew they were going to have lots of kids coming back. We knew the kids they had coming back were going to be tough kids. ...We knew them and Skyline were going to be the teams (to beat) coming back. So we’re real excited about the challenge.”
Brentsville (2-0, 2-0 Class 3 Northwestern) on offense is led by senior Guy Hayes. However, Hayes did not play in the second half of a 22-8 win over Warren County last week. He was replaced by junior Beau Lang, who had plenty of success of his own against the Wildcats. Lang ran for 108 yards, including a rushing touchdown and also caught a touchdown pass in the first half from Hayes.
“Schematically, they don’t change a lot regardless of whose in there,” Yew said. “They like to show you a bunch of formations and do a bunch of different things that really just kind of messes with your mind. It causes us to do a lot of work to prepare, which is I’m sure what they’re trying to do.”
The Tigers also have several solid running backs led by senior Jacob Johnson and junior Nick Griffin.
They also have a solid offensive line, which helped them rack up 259 rushing yards.
Central (1-0, 1-0 Class 3 Northwestern) is coming off a shutout, a 41-0 win over Manassas Park. Yew said he was happy with how the defense played in the season opener but they still have some things to fix.
“We just got to be a little more disciplined with containing the edge,” Yew said. “We talked about it and we made a couple changes this week; just lining up wise I think is our biggest thing. Nothing personnel wise. It was getting people lined up better and that was our fault the first week that we probably lined up a little too tight. We made adjustments and as the game went on, we got better at it. But this week Brentsville is very good when they get on the edge. They got good speed. We’ve got to contain them and funnel them back to the middle and our linebackers and safeties.”
Yew said that’s what Brentsville also tries to do on defense – funnel the plays back to the inside for their linebackers. Yew said Lang, Johnson and Griffin are their linebackers and make a lot of plays on defense for the Tigers.
Central had 510 total yards of offense in the victory over Manassas Park, including 334 on the ground.
The offensive line led the way despite having several new faces starting. Central junior offensive lineman Christian Ross said the position group was in sync in the season opener.
“A lot of the blocking schemes were working,” Ross said. “I think we were just a lot more physical. We were getting after it. Everybody was working together. It was a good team effort.”
Ross said that it helped that most of the offensive line played together at the junior varsity level last season.
“We have good chemistry on that line,” Ross said. “We all like each other. We all hang out a little. It’s fun. I’m liking it. I’m enjoying it.”
The Falcons run game was led by junior Isaiah Dyer, who ran for 201 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns.
Central had a balanced attack as junior quarterback Ashton Baker threw for 174 yards on 8-for-13 passing and two touchdowns in his first varsity start.
“I know this is a cliche, but it was so much a team effort,” Yew said of his offense. “We had so many people involved. I think we had five different people catch the ball. We had five or six different people run the ball. Ashton (Baker) made good decisions, knock on wood, because he hadn’t had any game experience on varsity at all when it counted. He went straight from being our JV quarterback to our varsity quarterback. He didn’t get to have (summer) camp. We didn’t get to do 7-on-7 (competition). So I thought his decision-making to keep it and run or throw it when it was open was excellent. So I just hope that those things carry over this week.”
Yew said it should help his squad that they are finally able to get into a normal game week routine. Central’s first several weeks of practice were hampered by the weather and COVID-19 issues. Warren County had to cancel its game with Central on Feb. 22 due to the team being in quarantine.
Yew said that he just wants his team to keep improving.
“Just keep playing hard,” Yew said of what he wants to see from his team against Brentsville. “I thought we really kept our foot on the gas last week, and wins will always take care of themselves. Our goal is to get better every week. Our goal is to be playing the best football we can be in week 6.”