The Strasburg Rams advanced in the postseason with a shutout win.
The Rams thrived in their running game to take down the East Rockingham Eagles 42-0 at Strasburg High School on Thursday night in a Region 2B quarterfinal matchup.
Strasburg head coach Mark Roller feels his team started out slow, perhaps due to nerves for the first playoff game. Yet, they began to hit their stride and take care of business from there.
“This is who we are, and I don’t know if it’ll send a message to the other teams or not,” Roller said. “We’re just going to play it week by week and go from there.”
The final score looked similar to their week six matchup when the Rams took down East Rock 28-0 at home. The Eagles averaged just over 23 points during the regular season, and Roller said they take pride in their defense, as they once again held them to a goose egg on the scoreboard.
“They’re an explosive team and for us to shut them out, I commend our defense,” Roller said. “Those guys, they take a lot of pride in not giving up a whole lot of points.”
After Strasburg gave up a fumble on its first possession, the Rams' defense made up for it and forced the Eagles to turn the ball over on downs on their next drive. The Rams proceeded to drive down the field on a 62-yard drive, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run by Takhi Coates.
Strasburg tallied 100 rushing yards in the first quarter alone. Coates said their running game was great, but they couldn’t do it without their offensive line.
“Our line did great, had great blocks [and] did everything they could,” Coates said. “It was great.”
The Rams put up 21 unanswered points in the second quarter. First, Ryan Roller connected on a 13-yard pass to Griffin Carter to finish off an 81-yard drive. Strasburg followed up on its next drive when Coates notched his second rushing touchdown of the game. Just before halftime, Roller took it in the end zone himself on a 6-yard carry.
Roller had 82 rushing yards on the night and one passing and rushing touchdown each. He felt the team played well but could’ve done better.
“We made a few mistakes but that’s part of the game, so we can clean it up next week,” Ryan said. “They started off hot, we made a few mistakes in the first quarter and they were right there with us. We knew we had to pick up our game to beat this team.”
The Rams ultimately never let East Rock get back in the game as they put up another two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. One was off a 3-yard run from Braydon Decristofaro and the other was off a 65-yard pick six from Carsen Anderson.
“It was a great win, we gotta keep going [and] we got plenty of games left,” Coates said. “My [offensive] line played great, blocked well, our quarterback did their job [and] everyone did their job.”
The topsy-turvy season for the Eagles came to a close. Head coach Drew Spitzer said his team played hard but didn’t take advantage of some opportunities, such as the fumble on Strasburg’s opening drive.
“With a team that’s that good [and] that’s not going to beat themselves, when they make mistakes, you got to capitalize on it,” Spitzer said. “That’s a tremendous football team and you got to tip your cap to them. They’re where they are right now for a reason.”
Spitzer said his senior group was a special one and they will be missed. While they would’ve liked to have won more games, he feels the future success of East Rock is because of this year’s senior group and he doesn’t see this season as unsuccessful.
To sum up this season, the first word that came to mind for Spitzer was rollercoaster.
“This season was a rollercoaster,” Spitzer said. “The best part about having a small senior class is that you get everybody back. We don’t graduate any linemen, our quarterback’s back [and we’re] bringing back a lot of quality players.”
The Rams (10-1, 5-0 Shenandoah) advance to the Region 2B semifinals. Coates looks forward to advancing and realizes it’ll be a challenge for both sides.
“It’s definitely not going to be easy for other teams [and] it’s not going to be easy for us,” Coates said. “We just gotta keep pushing it.”