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Riverheads hands Central first loss

Gladiators' Smiley scores four TDs
Posted 2018-11-01 By LARRY BEAZLEY

    Central’s perfect football season ended Friday on a cold and rainy night in Augusta County.

    Riverheads High School’s Gladiators scored 14 third quarter points to break open a close game and hand Central its first loss of the season, 35-19.

    The Gladiators’ Zac Smiley scored four of Riverheads’ five touchdowns. Central’s defense had no answers.

    Smiley scored on runs of three yards, 68 yards, 30 yards and one yard. He scored both of Riverheads’ third period touchdowns, the ones that put the game out of reach for Central.

    In the first period, Central appeared likely to take control of the game.

    The Falcons’ Kyle Clanton received a punt at his own 35 yard line and ran 65 yards untouched to the end zone. Alex Lopez kicked the point-after to put Central up, 7-0.

    Riverheads answered with a sustained drive that reached the end zone on a one-yard burst through the Central defense by Devin Morris. With 7:29 remaining in the first, the score was tied at 7.

    Central quarterback Zeb Dyer then connected with Clanton on a passing route that covered 55 yards to put the Falcons up by six, 13-7.

    A three-yard touchdown run by Smiley with two minutes left in the initial period and an extra point gave Riverheads its first lead, 14-13.

    Smiley’s 68-yard jaunt to the end zone in the second period put Riverheads up by eight at the half, 21-13. Soon after the teams returned to a rainy second half, Central’s hopes of winning were dashed.

    Smiley’s two third period touchdowns put the game out of reach. Central’s Shane Watson scored from 13 yards out in the final period, but by then the outcome was no longer in doubt.

    Turnovers proved costly for Central.  Offensive drives three times ended in turnovers, one on the loss of a fumble and twice on pass interceptions.

    Clanton had two touchdowns and Watson rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown.

    The Falcons, 8-1 after the loss, will play Strasburg at Woodstock Friday to end the season for both teams.