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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.
Week 1 is finally here and our first Friday Night Lights Game of the Week features two teams with promising returning players, experienced coaches, and question marks at the game’s most significant position, quarterback.
Skyline is led by Head Coach Heath Gilbert on the sidelines and senior running back Aidan Vaught between the lines.
Coach Gilbert is switching the defense up this year to a 3-3 stack to better fit the team’s athletes.
That could hurt them against teams that like to pound the run like Strasburg does out of their classic T-formation.
All eyes will be on Vaught when Skyline’s offense is on the field.
He switched back to his more natural position of running back this season, but while playing quarterback last year, he amassed over 2,000 total yards and 17 touchdowns on his way to earning 1st Team All Region 3B All-Purpose.
Strasburg is lead by All State offensive lineman and linebacker Colby Shaw.
Shaw was one of the areas leading tacklers with 145 last season.
Head Coach Mark Roller’s Rams are coming off a strong season including a Bull Run District Championship.
The former Strasburg QB and long time head coach has to replace his son, All Region performer Ryan Roller, at QB this season.
He will look towards sophomore Brayden Hough who beat out another sophomore, Harper Sherman.
Hough was thrown into the fire during the Regional Championship loss to Central when Roller went out with an injury, but with more time to prepare, should have more control over the offense.
Skyline’s quarterback battle saw the more athletic Nick Mrad beat out the more experienced Nate Ballard.
Neither quarterback should be asked to do too much unless one of the team’s falls behind substantially as they will both look to pound the ground game.
I predict a very competitive contest between two teams who will try to keep their game plan simplified for their new QBs.
I look for Strasburg to emerge victorious tonight due to their strong run game and the way their offensive formation could exploit the weaknesses of Skyline’s 3-3 stack, 23-14.
Tune in to the action on The River 95.3, Fox Sports Radio 1450 WFTR, theriver953.com and the Tune In Radio App.
For my interview with Coach Mark Roller, play below.