CARBONDALE – Centralia jumped out to a 13-0 lead and returned an interception for a touchdown at the end of the first half and held on to beat Carbondale, 27-21, at Frank Bleyer Field in the opening game of the South Seven schedule for both teams on Friday night.
"I’m certainly proud of our guys,” said Centralia coach Brad Goewey. “A lot of people don’t know we sustained four injuries in a five-minute span last week and that was when the wheels fell off. We had a great week of practice and our young guys took to their new roles and did their best to learn them. We are pleased with how the young guys stepped up and played tonight.”
Centralia improved to 3-1 on the season while the Terriers lost their third in a row to fall to 1-3.
“So close,” said Carbondale coach Bryan Lee. “We talked all week about evolving as a team. This is a much better team than that one last week and the one two weeks before that. We’re young and we are starting to put it together. Our tackling was much better. We won the penalty battle tonight and that’s been a big deal for us. The things we put focus on came to fruition. We just ran out of time.”
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The Orphans got on the board first on their second possession after stopping the Terriers on downs at the Carbondale 42. Seven plays later, Carson Green found Camden Newcomb on a slant from the left side for an eight-yard touchdown pass. Will Graham kicked the extra point and Centralia led 7-0 with 4:06 remaining in the first quarter.
On Carbondale’s next possession, Marzeal Marshall picked off Brock Bowlby at the Centralia 45 and ran it back to Carbondale seven, but the Orphans were called for a block in the back, setting Centralia up at the Carbondale 45 with 52.3 seconds left in the first quarter.
Green started the drive off with a seven-yard draw and Amir Johnson finished the drive off with five straight runs ending with a two-yard touchdown behind the left guard. The snap was bad on the extra point, leaving the Orphans up 13-0 with 11:22 remaining in the half.
The Terriers responded with a touchdown drive of their own. Starting at the Carbondale 20 after the kickoff, Mozzy Graham ripped off a 33-yard run to open the drive and nine plays later Graham scored from the eight on a dazzling run that started to the right, but he reversed course when he ran into a wall and scored around the left end. Ian Davis kicked the extra point and the Terriers cut the lead to 13-7 with 5:26 remaining before halftime.
The Terrier defense got the ball back as the Orphans were driving for a touchdown when Green was sacked by Malik Crane-Walker and fumbled the ball with the Terriers recovering at the 13.
However, the Orphans immediately struck back. On a third-and-13 from the 10, Xavier Koch intercepted Bowlby at the 35 and ran it all the way back for a touchdown. This time the the snap was good and Graham drilled the extra point to up Centralia’s lead to 20-7 with 44.1 seconds left before intermission.
“The interception at the half turned out to be a big play,” said Goewey. “We talk all the time to our kids about making a play when there’s a play to be made and Xavier (Koch) certainly made a play right there.
The Terriers got the second half started off with a bang. After beginning the opening drive at the 20, Martez Graham scored on the sixth play on a dash up the middle from the Carbondale 41. Ian Davis kicked the extra point and the Terriers cut the lead to 20-14 with 8:41 left in the quarter.
The Orphans got that one back with an 87-yard 15-play drive that was aided by an offsides call at the Orphan 48 on fourth-and-three. Marzeal Marshall scored from the two and Will Graham kicked the extra point to give Centralia a 27-14 lead with 2:53 left in the third quarter.
Trailing 27-14, Carbondale picked off a pass with 2:14 remaining and scored on a 36-yard pass from Brock Bowlby to Dee Cawthon with 41 seconds left for the final margin.