CARBONDALE — Carbondale led 27-10 after the third quarter, but had to withstand two touchdowns and a safety by Centralia in the fourth quarter to hold on for 33-26 win in the South Seven opener for both teams at the 4th Annual First Responder Military Appreciation game at Frank Bleyer Field on Friday night.
"I’m not real pleased with the way we played the second half, but when you play two games in one week you get a little bit of this," said Carbondale coach Bryan Lee. "Yes, we are 4-0 because we took care of business when we had to."
The Terriers overcame five fumbles and an interception to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2009 while the Orphans dropped to 0-4. The game lasted three hours and 20 minutes.
"We need three fourth quarters I guess," said Centralia coach Bobby Breeneisen. "A loss is a loss. You can’t dog our effort, but effort doesn’t always win games."
Terrier quarterback Jakeba Burleigh and wide receiver Clayton Greer hooked up for three touchdown passes. Burleigh finished with 243 yards passing, completing 22-of-29 attempts with an interception. Greer had five catches for 78 yards.
The Terriers trailed 3-0 at the first stop before scoring three times in the second quarter. Centralia cut Carbondale's lead to 21-10 on a 71-yard run by Mason Blakemore with 5:16 remaining in the third quarter. On the Orphans' next drive, facing 4th-and-10, Camden Woolbright was wide open down the middle, but dropped a sure touchdown pass from Hayden Minor.
Blakemore finished with 129 yards rushing on 28 carries. Minor passed for 238 yards and two touchdowns, completing 18-of-38 passes.
After Woolbright's drop, Carbondale took over on its own 39, and four plays later, Burleigh connected with Greer as he was being pulled down for a 26-yard catch and run with 2.8 seconds left in the third. The extra point failed, and the Terriers led 27-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
After forcing Centralia to punt, Carbondale started on its own 11 and Burleigh fumbled the ball into the end zone for a safety. After the free kick set the Orphans up at their own 45, Centralia needed six plays to cut the lead to 27-19 on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Minor to Crue Walker. Pascal Bernier’s extra point was good.
Centralia got the ball back two plays later when Woolbright intercepted Burleigh to set up the Orphans at the Carbondale 48. However, the Terriers got the ball when Mikey Green recovered a fumble at the Centralia 38.
Six plays later, Korey Blythe scored from the eight for the winning score. The extra point kick again failed, leaving the Orphans 14 points down with 5:13 remaining. Blythe finished with 75 rushing on 15 carries.
The Orphans cut the lead to 33-26 after a 7-play, 69-yard drive, ending with Woolbright catching a seven-yard pass from Minor on 4th-and-goal. Bernier’s extra point was good, leaving the Orphans down by seven with 3:22 remaining.
The Orphans got the ball back with 2:23 remaining and drove down to the Terrier 12, where on 4th-and-10, Javon Love broke up a pass in the left corner of the end zone with 32.6 seconds remaining.
However, the Orphans knocked the ball loose from the center on an attempted kneel down to get one last chance from the 12. After a pass for no yardage, Blackmore was called for intentional grounding. The game ended on two incompletions into the end zone.
The first quarter was a nightmare for the Terriers, as they turned the ball over three times on fumbles, starting with the second play of the game and setting up the Orphans at the Centralia 45.
The Terriers defense was stout, forcing punts on the first two Orphan possessions, but after a fumble following a 15-yard completion set up the third possession at the Carbondale 20, the Orphans needed eight plays before settling for a 27-yard field goal by Bernier to take the lead, 3-0, with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter.
The two teams traded punts, leaving the Terriers at the Centralia 45 at the beginning of the second quarter. The drive started with a nine-yard completion from Burleigh to Lashawn Newell. Blythe initially fumbled his next carry, but picked it up and rambled 26 yards down to the 20. Burleigh connected with Greer down the middle for the touchdown. After Phen Grant kicked the extra point, the Terriers led 7-3 with 11:03 left in the first half.
After forcing Centralia to punt again, the Terriers took over at the Orphan 41. The drive initially stalled at the 24 on a 4th-and-7, but Centralia was called for a facemask penalty giving the Terriers a first down on the Orphan 17. However, Tavaris Macklin turned the ball over to the Orphans at the nine.
Macklin made up for the mistake by picking up an Orphan fumble at the eight and returning it into the end zone for a touchdown. Grant’s kick was good and the Terriers led 14-3 with 5:22 left before halftime.
The Terrier defense forced its fifth punt of the first half, setting up the offense at its own 19 with 3:39 left on the clock. Ten plays later, Burleigh’s pass into the left corner of the end zone went through an Orphan defender’s hands into the hands of Greer for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1:29 remaining. Grant's kick was good again and the Terriers took a 21-3 lead into halftime.