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Sports


Central too much for Strasburg

Falcons close out perfect season with 42-6 win
Posted 2017-11-09 By LARRY BEAZLEY

By LARRY BEAZLEY

Central’s first undefeated football season in school history could not have come against a better opponent or in a better venue.

The Falcons did it Friday night against long-time rival Strasburg at Ram Stadium. It was not the game some thought it would be.

Central’s offensive speed and power and its stingy defense were simply too much for the Rams. Central won it, 42-6, and it could have been worse.

Ironically, though the Falcons ran roughshod over opponents all season and ranked No. 1 in Virginia 2A power ratings a week ago, they will enter the post season seeded No. 2.

The No. 1 seed will go to Clarke County, a team Central beat earlier in the season on the road, 40-0. The experts say Clarke played a tougher schedule.

Though it finished the season with only a 5-5 record, Strasburg will be seeded No. 8 for the post-season, and almost certainly will play away from home.

Central and Clarke both will play early post-season games at home. Should they be forced to play each other, however, Central would be forced to travel to Clarke, the higher seed.

The Falcons scored twice in the first quarter Friday night and had built a 35-6 lead at the half.

Early in the third period, Central extended its lead to 42-6, prompting officials to allow the clock to run continuously through the remainder of the second half. Even if Strasburg’s most loyal fans were not convinced it was over, the officials were.

Central coach Mike Yew had begun to empty his bench, but even against the Falcons’ reserves the Rams were unable to score.

Central scored six times and kicking specialist Austin Miller made all extra points attempts. It was, essentially, a near flawless performance on offense and defense.

The Falcons’ only turnover, a fumble inside the Strasburg 20 yard line in the first quarter, resulted in the Rams’ only touchdown, a three yard pass from running back Austin Miller to Stephen Kloosterman.

A running attempt for the two-point conversion failed.

Central running back Shane Watson scored the game’s first TD early, plowing over from a yard out to end a five-play series.

Minutes later, the Falcons’ Kyle Clanton swept into the end zone from the seven capping a seven-play drive.

Watson broke loose early in the second period on a 41-yard jaunt to the goal line on only the second play of a Central drive, before the Falcons’ Varsey Bright scored twice, first on a 45-yard run and then on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Zeb Dyer.

Central began its next drive early in the third quarter. Six plays in, Hunter Mullins found an opening and went 29 yards for a TD.

Central dominated play on both sides of the ball throughout the game. Strasburg was hobbled by injuries to at least two linemen who did not play.

Strasburg’s Austin Miller, the Rams’ offensive workhorse all season, was held to just 25 yards, well below his average.

Central’s Watson carried the ball 15 times for 123 yards.

Strasburg’s sophomore quarterback Chase Hart connected on 12 of 21 passes for 140 yards. His leading receiver, Grant Scott, had four catches for 71 yards.

While Central was burnishing its resume, the Falcons’ post-season seeding was being determined in nearby Front Royal.

In a rivalry game there, Warren County High came from behind to defeat Skyline, 22-21 in the last minute of play. Had Skyline won, Central somehow might have been seeded No. 1.

Central’s first perfect regular season came 58 years after the school’s 1959 opening. Its previous best season occurred in1964 when the Falcons went 9-1.