Manassas Park 35, Strasburg 7
The Manassas Park football team found a simple way to overcome a bumpy first half against Strasburg: Hike the ball to quarterback Jay Terrell, have his guards clear some room and let him run.
Terrell carried the ball on eight of the first 11 plays of the second half -- all eight rushes were a trap to either the left or right of center -- and he scored two of his four touchdowns in that 6 minute 32 second stretch to lead the Cougars from a rare halftime deficit to a 35-7 win at home over the Rams on Friday night.
"We were going to focus trying that play on the first few plays, but we had great success with it," Coach Jeff Lloyd said. "We just kept flipping sides with it and it worked."
The Cougars (6-0, 1-0 Bull Run District) trailed Strasburg (2-4, 0-1) at halftime, 7-6, but rebounded quickly to win their 30th consecutive regular season game and 20th straight overall. Terrell rushed for 198 yards on 23 carries, including 114 yards during a 15-point third quarter.
The key for Manassas Park was a minor blocking adjustment on offense -- it began to pull the guard to block the outside linebacker on Terrell's keeper runs -- and a refocusing of its attitude.
Terrell credited the blocking of guards Bucky Griffith and Ellery Moore as well as running back Todd Smoot (53 yards rushing) as the secret to his success in the quarter.
"When you've got the best blockers in the state in front of you, that's going to open some holes for you," Terrell said.
The team also received a halftime pep talk after a sluggish first half in which it had just two first downs while allowing Strasburg 175 yards of offense. It had been 16 games since the Cougars last trailed at halftime, last season against Brentsville in the fourth game.
"We told them, big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games," Lloyd said, "and we had a bunch of kids step up in the second half."
The Cougars scored on their fourth offensive play, when Terrell scrambled left, waited and then cut back to open space on the right, scampering 16 yards for a 6-0 lead just over three minutes into the game.
But from that point on in the half -- starting with a missed extra point -- the Cougars were almost completely shut down. They did not have a first down until 4:40 remained in the half, during an eight-play drive that ended with a failed 40-yard field goal. Meanwhile, Strasburg dominated but managed only seven points because of a missed field goal and a failed fourth-down conversion.
After the Cougars received the second-half kickoff, Terrell had rushes of 7, 10, 12, 2 and 9 yards before his two-yard touchdown run gave the Cougars the lead for good.
Strasburg went three and out on the ensuing drive, and Terrell took the third play of the next drive 50 yards for a touchdown run and a 21-7 lead.
"Clearly," Strasburg Coach Glenn Proctor said of Manassas Park, "that was a different team out there in the second half."