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Central, Strasburg showdown Friday

Falcons coming off seasonís first loss; improved Rams looking for an upset
Posted 2018-11-13 By Larry Beazley

    In what has become a Shenandoah County football classic, Central and Strasburg will meet for the 59th time Friday in Woodstock.

    Should Central win, the Falcons would finish the season as Bull Run District champions, a distinction that likely would earn them at least one post season home game.

    Should Strasburg win, the Rams, the Falcons and Clarke County would wind up the regular season with 3-1 district records and tie for the title.

    Depending on strength of schedules, Strasburg and Central could be forced to travel for post-season play.

    No matter the outcome, though, Central, Strasburg and Clarke all are almost certainly headed to a tournament game somewhere.

    More will be at stake in the Central-Strasburg game, however, than wins and losses. Those on the winning side will share the glory with their grandchildren. It’s a big deal, and has been since Shenandoah County’s high schools were consolidated in the fall of 1959.

    Though the game this time will be played in Woodstock, there will be no home field advantage. Strasburg, a town with a generations-long love affair with high school athletics, will bring as many fans as the home team, perhaps more.

    The weather Friday should be football perfect. Rain is forecast for the morning, but the afternoon high is expected to reach a balmy 68. By game time it should feel like autumn.

    Attendance is likely to reach 2,000, the largest crowd to view a sports event in Shenandoah County since these two teams met a year ago. In fact, the crowd will be the largest to view any one-day event in this county  since the last time these two teams played each other.

     The common opponent of the Falcons and Rams with the most impressive record thus far has been Clarke County.

    Central defeated Clarke County earlier in the season, shortly before the Eagles beat Strasburg at Berryville.

    At the time, Central’s offense had run roughshod over opponents while its defense had yet to be scored upon.

    Since then, Strasburg’s offense has improved and Central’s defense has been vulnerable. The Falcons gave up 35 points Friday in a losing effort at Riverheads.

    Central has an explosive offense that includes a strong running component and speed among receivers and special teams.

    The outcome could be determined in Central’s defensive secondary.

    Strasburg’s quarterback has an impressive passing record and the Rams have two quality receivers. If Central’s secondary can shut down the Strasburg passing game, it could be over early.

    The Falcons have yet to face a good passing team. They will Friday.