WOODSTOCK — Most of Central’s games this season have been one-sided by halftime. Friday night things will likely be different.
The undefeated Falcons play at undefeated Clarke County on Friday at 7:30 p.m., in a game that could be crucial in the Bull Run District race.
“We’re expecting a hard-fought battle,” Central junior Kyle Clanton said. “So I think that’s what we’re going to get. We’re practicing hard this week, coming out probably a little tougher than we have these past couple games. We’re getting ready.”
Central is coming off of a 52-16 victory over King William High School. Clarke County defeated Warren County, 29-21, last week.
The two teams have been at the top of the Bull Run District for most of the last 10 years, and have developed a strong rivalry.
“I think this is a healthy rivalry for our district,” Central coach Mike Yew said. “It has been a very physical game the past four, five years.”
The Eagles (6-0) are averaging 39.5 points per game. They are allowing just 14 points per contest.
Clarke County is led on offense by sophomore running back Peyton Rutherford and sophomore quarterback Colby Childs.
Rutherford has 1,300 rushing yards this season and 20 touchdowns.
Childs threw for 83 yards in the victory over Warren County last week.
The Eagles run the single wing offense, which they have run for many years. Yew said that his team must be disciplined to win the game.
“Any time you play Clarke County, you must be disciplined,” Yew said. “They are good at what they do and if you are not disciplined, they will make you pay.”
Defensively, the Eagles are led by defensive linemen Bryan Wallace, who made the Group 2A All-State team last year, and Lucas Rogers.
“They are huge. They are strong,” Yew said of Clarke County’s defense. “They plug the holes well and are very physical.”
Central’s offense has been led by a balanced attack all season. Running back Shane Watson has 592 yards rushing, including 9.3 yards per carry and eight touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Zeb Dyer has thrown for 716 yards on 28-for-37 passing and 12 touchdowns. Clanton has 11 catches for 357 yards, 32.5 yards per reception, and six touchdowns. Senior Varsey Bright has eight catches for 227 yards, 28.4 yards per reception, and three touchdowns.
Clanton also has three punt returns and one kickoff return for a score. Bright has one punt return for a touchdown. The Falcons are averaging 57.4 points per contest.
Defensively, the Falcons are only allowing 11.4 points per game. Junior Declan Franklin has 28 tackles to lead the Falcons, including five sacks. Senior Dean Woodwell also has five sacks. Bright has six interceptions.
The Falcons (5-0) are currently in fifth in Region 2B in the Virginia High School League power ratings, which determine the playoff seedings. The Eagles are No. 1 in the region in the ratings.
The players said that if they can beat the Eagles they know it will help them a lot in the power ratings. It could also end up determining the Bull Run District title.
“This game would probably mean we would host most of our playoff games at Central,” Clanton said. “So that’s always a plus. And then winning a Bull (Run) District title would be nice.”
Last year the Falcons beat the Eagles, 22-21. The players said they know the Eagles will be fired up for the game and it’s also homecoming for Clarke County.
Bright said the team is excited for the challenge and to see how they do against a very good team.
“I’m really excited I just want to see how we react (in a close game),” Bright said. “We have a lot of experienced players. So I think we have a lot of people that have played all their lives. And I think we’re going to dig in and play all four quarters and hopefully come out with a win.”