Centennial takes three overtime thriller for Homecoming
By Joe Williams, For the Williamson Herald
Senior quarterback J.J. Tomlin scrambled to find a receiver before seeing sophomore Emanuel Hall in the end zone on Centennial’s first offensive play of the third overtime to cap a 34-31 come-from-behind victory over Cane Ridge, saving the Cougars’ homecoming celebration plans and snapping a three game losing streak.
The play ended a major growing experience for the team, which trailed nearly the entire contest. It also gave them a successful experience against extreme adversity, the kind that had them thinking at half time all hope of a post-season berth could be over. It was a rough 20 minutes in the locker room, as head coach Brian Rector laid it out straight to the players.
“I told them, ‘I’m going to honest with you fellas, if we don’t win this one our chance of making the playoffs are pretty well gone so what are you going to do about it?’”
Cane Ridge had forced two fumbles and made Centennial pay for each with first half touchdowns. The first came on a crushing blind-side sack of Tomlin, who was immediately separated from the ball. Aided by two penalties for 20 yards, the Ravens drew first blood on a 50-yard drive at the 5:52 mark of the first quarter. The second turn-over, a Cougar fumble on the Cane Ridge 32 led to a nine-play Raven touchdown drive. Sandwiched in between was a 27-yard Tomlin to Hall scoring pass.
Centennial evened the score in the second quarter as Tomlin found Bailey Wisniowski on a 35-yard scoring pass to boost the sputtering Cougar offense. But the tie was short lived as Cane Ridge marched 78 yards on the ensuing possession for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead at halftime.
The second half was not for the weak of heart. Centennial failed to convert a 23-yard field goal on the opening possession it was a defensive masterpiece that never saw the ball go past the Ravens’ 35-yard line.
The Cougars forced two fumbles and Joseph Reffegee intercepted a Cane Ridge pass, as did Kevon Prince. Despite starting at the Cane Ridge 11, 35, 19 and 35, Centennial could not punch the ball into the end zone, ending four possessions by turning the ball over on downs three times inside the 10 and throwing one interception.
Centennial got the ball back with 2:56 remaining in the game at the Cane Ridge 32. Two straight Raven penalties moved the ball closer to the end zone and a 21-yard Tomlin to Scottie Fleming pass led to Tomlin’s first rushing touchdown of the night from the 1-yard line and tied the game.
In the first overtime Cane Ridge scored on the first play from the 10-yard line. Faced with fourth and goal at the 6-yard line, Tomlin scrambled right and scored to send the game into the second overtime.
“It was basic instinct, I guess,” said a tired and sore Tomlin after the game. “We had to have a score and I saw the goal line and I just tucked it.”
Both teams failed on 23-yard field goals in the second overtime. In both cases the misses came after 5-yard penalties lengthened the distance and the Cougars blocked the Ravens’ attempt.
Cane Ridge’s drive in the third overtime was thwarted by great defense, including a Cord Collier knocked down pass on second down. The Ravens had to settle for a 24-yard field goal before giving way to the Tomlin-Hall heroics.
Centennial improves to 4-3 on the season and welcomes Ravenwood as the last home opponent of 2012. Senior Night activities are scheduled prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff.
Posted on: 10/6/2012