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For the sixth time in the last three years, Central (11-0) and Strasburg (8-2) meet on the gridiron; this time in the second round of the VHSL playoffs.
In their first meeting this year, Central emerged victorious and claimed the Bull Run District Championship with a 28-7 win.
That game was closer than the final score implies as Central added a few late scores.
Strasburg had numerous opportunities in that game to put points on the board where they came up short and a few defensive plays that allowed 4th down conversions.
If Strasburg can correct those mistakes, they will be able to go toe-to-toe with one of the most dominant teams in Virginia over the last two years in Class 2 football, the Central Falcons.
Central has not lost since last year’s State Championship against Graham and has looked to be on a mission to get back to Salem.
The Falcon’s dynamic running game was too much for the Rams in the last matchup which allowed star running back Tyler Forbes to reach 164 yards and Jacob Williams-Warner to reach 140 yards on two carries.
Forbes recently claimed the Central High School career rushing record in the first round matchup against Stuarts Draft when he passed Johnnie Williams with 3,308 yards.
Central’s gameplan will once again revolve around Forbes and his bruising style, but they have shown some big play capability through the air as the season has progressed.
Both team’s have been dominant in the trenches and it will basically be a Bull Run All District All Star game between both team’s lines.
The more physical team who can limit mistakes will win the game.
Strasburg has a nasty taste in their mouth after losing to Central in last year’s playoffs and in the regular season finale, but the Falcons playoff experience and home field advantage should give them the boost they need to get past the Rams in a tight one, 22-14.
Press play below for my interview with Strasburg Head Coach Mark Roller.
Central (8-0) hosts Page County (1-7) for their Senior Night in the penultimate regular season High School Football Game of the Week on The River 95.3, Fox Sports Radio 1450 WFTR, theriver953.com and the Tune In Radio App.
Central has continued their great success from last season which ended in a State Championship game appearance into an undefeated regular season so far this season.
They have used the same formula including a bruising rushing attack led by an experienced offensive line and a battering ram at running back, senior Tyler Forbes.
Forbes leads all area rushers in Region 2B with 1,172 yards and 19 touchdowns.
The Central defense has remained stout all season long, allowing only 7.8 ppg with only two opponents scoring more than once all season.
Page County and Coach James May continue to try to build up their program and the offense has been able to produce points at times.
Quarterback Hunter Petit has been dangerous on the ground and in the air.
Last week against Madison County, he had a passing touchdown and a highlight 51 yard touchdown run.
He has two young weapons that he has formed a great connection with including tight end Isaac Foltz and wide receiver Dawson Richards, both of who are sophomores.
Defensively, Page County has struggled, allowing 46.6 points per game and 69 points last week against Madison County.
Central will need to avoid looking ahead to a potential, de-facto Bull Run District Championship Game against Strasburg.
The Falcons should be able to stay focused on their game plan and get the win due to their experience and control over the line of scrimmage, 56-8.
Press play below to hear my interview with Central Head Coach Mike Yew.
The battle of the unbeatens is finally here.
Central (5-0) will travel to Berryville for their 4th consecutive road game to take on Clarke County (5-0) for our Game of the Week on The River 95.3, Fox Sports Radio 1450, theriver953.com and the Tune In Radio App.
The last few matchups in the series have been instant classics and this game looks to fit the same mold.
Last year, Clarke County took an early 14-0 lead, but Central made a comeback moving Tyler Forbes (121 yards and two touchdowns) from fullback to tailback to win 21-14.
Forbes would stay put as the lead back for the rest of the season, and Central advanced all the way to the state championship game using the same formula of a hard nosed rushing attack and stifling defense.
This year looks to be a lot more of the same as they are off to a hot start with some quality wins and players like Forbes and defensive end Nathan Lopez (52 tackles and 4 sacks) picking up where they left off last season.
Central’s passing game looks to have taken a step back with quarterback Nick Barahona completing just 9 passes and one touchdown through the air to his receiving corps which features mainly underclassmen.
The Falcons will meet a Clarke County team that has made huge strides this season after a difficult year in 2022 plagued by injuries.
Clarke County is led by an experienced offensive line (four seniors, one junior) and a variety of gifted backs including Will Booker, Wyatt Palmer, and Carson Rutherford, who may be available Friday night for the first time since the King William game on September 1st.
Booker has been featured heavily the past few games including a 25 carry, 145 yard, and two touchdown performance against Catoctin last week.
Defensively, the Eagles have been stout allowing just 8.2 points per game and 111.8 yards per game.
They have also been opportunistic in forcing turnovers.
Basketball standout Moses Day has adapted quickly to the gridiron and had two interceptions against Catoctin from his defensive back position.
This game will truly come down to execution and limiting turnovers, but I believe Clarke County’s edge in team speed, experienced skill players, and a rowdy Feltner Stadium crowd will give the Eagles the victory, 26-21.
Press play below to hear my full interview with Clarke County Head Coach Casey Childs.
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