Senior quarterback Cade Walker ran in two touchdowns and tossed for another to lead the Page football team past Centennial in a non-region crosstown contest Thursday.
The Patriots, ranked No. 10 in the latest statewide poll in Class 5A, claimed a 28-14 win against the Class 6A Cougars and improved to 6-1 overall.
Walker closed with 103 yards passing and 102 yards rushing to lead the Page charge as a physical offensive line took over early, while the Patriots defense forced three turnovers.
“Those guys on defense, you can’t say enough about them,” Page coach Charles Rathbone said. “That’s an athletic team there and a crosstown rival, so for our defense to lock them down, that’s pretty impressive.”
Page gained control of the contest early when Walker streaked to the right sideline and dove for 21-yard touchdown less than five minutes into the contest. Centennial (3-5) gave up three third down stops on the 11-play drive to open the scoring.
Walker added a 4-yard touchdown run with 1:43 to play in the second quarter. Senior Bubba Johnson, who closed with 84 yards rushing, also tallied a score on the ground, plunging in for a 1-yard TD with 6:55 left in the second. Walker ran once for 12 yards and Johnson did the rest on that drive, which started after Nick Hurd came away with a strip and recovery on defense.
“The guys played well tonight, I mean Bubba ran hard, but man, Cade broke the contain and he was unbelievable on his feet tonight,” Rathbone said. “We brought in another blocker and tried to pound the ball after too much of a finesse start, I think.
“The line kind of got their feet under them and overall, I think we did a good job of running the ball.”
Page kicker Chase Tidmore had a field goal blocked by Centennial’s Kaden Carter as the first half ended. The ball squirted free from several players and bounced all the way past midfield before Johnson was able to cover up to end the half.
The Cougars turned to bruising back Alex Steele to jumpstart their offense in the third. With 6:53 to play in the frame, Steele took his first carry 21 yards. He finished with 88 yards on nine totes with a 14-yard touchdown run in the fourth.
Centennial got on the board with 2:20 to play in the third when Grayson Marcel found Alex Pierz in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-9. Marcel finished with 97 yards passing on 14-of-35 attempts. He had two interceptions – one in the first quarter snagged by Simon Simmonds and another in the final 90 seconds by Hurd.
Hurd finished with six tackles, an interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery. Simmonds had that INT and also two pass breakups, while Colby Burns collected nine tackles and Max VanLandingham three more to go with two passes batted down at the line of scrimmage on big night for the Patriot defense.
Centennial’s Desmond Smith added 80 yards rushing. Defensively, Christian Bledsoe had two sacks, while Carter added another to go with his blocked field goal.
The Cougars, who fell 42-41 in double overtime against Franklin last week, enter a bye week before closing out the season at home against Pope John Paul II and Brentwood.
Page was coming off a crucial 24-14 Region 5-5A win at previously unbeaten Summit in Week 7. The Patriots can clinch a second consecutive region title for the first time in school history by winning two of their final three games – all against region opponents.
They travel to Columbia Central next Friday.
“Focus is the key for us,” Rathbone said. “We have to get ready to face a very athletic and very good Columbia team next week.
“The boys have to come in Monday and be a sponge to soak in our game plan.”
Page 28, Centennial 14
CHS – 0 0 7 7 – 14
PHS – 7 14 0 7 – 28
1Q 7:19 P – Cade Walker 21 run (Chase Tidmore kick);
2Q 6:55 P – Bubba Johnson 1 run (Tidmore kick);
2Q 1:43 P – Walker 4 run (Tidmore kick);
3Q 2:20 C – Alex Pierz 9 pass from Grayson Marcel (Johnny Crouch kick);
4Q 10:26 P – Blanne Burrow 15 pass from Walker (Tidmore kick);
4Q 7:09 C – Alex Steele 15 run (Tidmore kick).