Wilson Central (6-0) visited Centennial (3-2) Friday night and drove away with a 35-21 victory over the Cougars.
Centennial opened the game with a long, nine-play drive that resulted in a missed field goal and served as foreshadowing for the opportunities they would miss the rest of the evening.Following the missed field goal, Wilson Central’s Trey Givens rushed for a 69-yard touchdown on their second play from scrimmage.
Centennial responded on the next drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass from J.J. Tomlin to Bailey Wisniowski, but from there the Cougars offense stalled until late in the fourth. Tomlin finished the night 11-24 for 156 yards with an interception, fumble and three touchdown passes - all to aforementioned Wisniowski, who had 105 yards receiving.
“It’s very disappointing, our performance on offense, there is no question about it. We just have to batten down the hatches and continue to get to work,” Brian Rector, Centennial’s head coach said.
The turning point of the game was the second half. The Cougars, down 21-7, only possessed the ball for 2:07 in the third quarter and only had six offensive plays up until the midpoint of the final quarter.
“Exactly what we were trying to get our team to do in the second half was the exact opposite of what happened,” said Rector. “What (Wilson Central) did was convert first downs. I thought our defense fought like crazy but in the end were probably a little bit over matched and that’s why they were able to hold the ball so long.”
Numerous times throughout the game Centennial had Wilson Central held to long second and third downs but the Wildcats were able to rip off big plays, resulting in first downs.
“Coach Dedman and his staff is doing an amazing job of doing what they should be, which is holding the football for a long time, ripping off 6 and 7-yard runs and staying ahead of the sticks. (Wilson Central) does an awesome job staying ahead of the sticks,” Rector stated.
While the score looks close, unfortunately for most of the game it wasn't. Losing 35-7 with less than a minute remaining, Centennial scored back-to-back touchdowns which included a recovered onside kick sandwiched in between.
“We’re struggling,” Rector said, when asked about his post game comments to his team. “But in times of adversity our true character has to show out and that’s in football and that’s in life. So we are going to see what we are made of the next several weeks.”
That’s a lesson the Cougars are going to have to learn quickly as the road doesn't get any easier. Next Friday Centennial travels North on I-65 to take on an undefeated Brentwood team.