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Defense, turnovers key Indy win over Centennial

Keegan Turnbull raced 88 yards with a first-half fumble to break open a scoreless contest and Brett Meeker and Alex Heckman both added rushing scores as Independence picked up its second straight win, shutting out Centennial 21-0 Friday night on the Cougars home field.

“This is a good win for us, against a tough team,” said victorious coach Jason Eubanks. “I think we wore them down a bit and were able to take advantage of some opportunities.”

Nearly a week of heavy rain turned the Cougar’s home field into quagmire, forcing both teams to keep the ball on ground that more resembled gelatin than terra firma. Even on the ground, the football looked more like a greased pig than pigskin.

After three punts and an Indy fumble, Centennial began a 20-play, 10-minute drive from their own 14-yard line, surviving four penalties and needing a fumble recovery to move to the Independence 12-yard line. On first and 10, Darius Steele’s sweep to the right side ended when he tried to cut back to the middle, slipping on the wet field. Parallel with the ground, Steele lost the ball and it bounced into the hands of Turnbull.

“I’ll bet Keegan’s eyes were as big as bowling balls,” said Eubanks. “They probably got bigger as he got nearer to the goal line.”

Centennial’s first drive of the second half ended at the Indy 38 when Tony Kemp’s pass over the middle was intercepted when his receiver was tripped by one defender and caught by another.

The Eagles took advantage of the turnover, driving 62 yards in 10 plays in just over 4 minutes to take a 14-0 lead, capped by Brett Meeker’s 7-yard run. The final score of the game came on a 15-yard Alex Heckman run, six plays after Ty Stannard intercepted Kemp a second time.

“I applaud the kids’ effort,” said Centennial Coach Mark Matykiewicz. “We could have executed better. The effort was great, the execution not too great. My hat’s off to Independence. Coach Eubanks and his staff did a great job as usual.”

The game was marred by 13 penalty flags from an overactive crew, costing the teams a combined 137 yards and leaving players questioning not only their footing, but also their technique.

Independence gets a week off tomorrow night to recover from a difficult first five games, while Centennial must travel to a resurgent Overton High School to face the Bobcats. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Posted on: 9/23/2009


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