By Thad Requet
Centralia’s offense was too much for the South Shelby Cardinals to try to contain on Friday night, as the Cardinals fell to the Panthers 41-14 in CCC action at Centralia.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards on just six plays, capped by a 19 yard touchdown run by Nick Wheaton. The point after made it 7-0 with 9:34 to play in the first quarter.
After the Cardinals went three and out on their first possession, Centralia took over on its own 18 yard line. On the first play of the drive, the Panthers fumbled and South Shelby’s Gage Rainey fell on the ball to give it back to the Cardinals on the Centralia nine yard line.
It was Brock Wood taking it in from nine yards out on the first play from scrimmage. The two-point conversion was good, making it 8-7 South Shelby with 7:48 to play in the opening quarter.
Centralia was able to put together another good drive on its next possession. The Panthers, starting from their own 39 yard line, marched 61 yards in 12 plays, eating up 4:01 off the clock. The point after failed and Centralia held a 13-8 lead with 3:40 to play in the first quarter.
The Cardinals went three and out on their next possession and were forced to punt back to the Panthers.
Starting from its own 25 yard line, Centralia had another successful drive. Gus Stidham broke free for a 42 yard run on the first play of the drive, taking the ball down to the Cardinal 33 yard line. Junior Quarterback John Durant ran for 14 yards to the 19 on the next play. On third and long, Jared Holiman had a 14 yard run to the three yard line. Durant scored on the next play from three yards out. The two-point conversion failed and Centralia held a 19-8 lead over South Shelby with 11:36 to play in the first half.
The Cardinals were able to move the ball and get a first down but the drive bogged down and they were forced to punt.
After a false start on first down, Centralia’s Durant hooked up with Nick Wheaton who made an outstanding grab over the middle and raced to the endzone for a 78 yard touchdown pass play. The two-point conversion made it 27-8 Centralia with 8:15 to play in the first half.
Again the Cardinals went three and out on their next possession. Centralia would add one more score before the half. A 62 yard drive that took nine plays and took 3:33 off the clock ended in a one yard touchdown run by Grafton Littrell. The point after was good making it 34-8 Centralia with 2:24 to play in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff, South Shelby’s Brock Wood, who had been moved up in the kick return formation, was able to get his hands on the ball at the Cardinal 27 yard line. He raced up the right sideline for a 73 yard kickoff return and touchdown. The two-point conversion failed and the Cardinals trailed 34-14 with 2:13 to play in the half. That’s how it would stand at the half.
The Cardinals opened the third quarter at their own 40. They were able to move the ball, picking up three first downs on the possession, and moving the ball to the Centralia 30 yard line before the drive fizzled out. The Cards turned the ball over on downs after a seven minute drive.
Centralia was driving again, but the Panthers turned the ball over again as Luke Woutzke was able to fall on the fumble.
The Cards went three and out and were forced to punt. Centralia took over on the South Shelby 37 yard line. The Panthers were driving, but the Cardinal offense stepped up and forced a turnover on downs after Centralia failed to convert a fourth and eight at the South Shelby 12 yard line.
Taking over on their own five yard line, the Cardinals were able to move the ball some. Daniel Burke ran for seven yards on first down. Three plays later Dylan Durbin hauled in a pass for an 11 yard gain to the 27 yard line. The Cardinals would turn the ball over on downs.
Centralia had one more scoring drive starting at the Cardinal 33 yard line. The seven play drive was capped off by a six yard run by Durant with 2:18 to play in the game. The point after was good making it 41-14 Centralia.
Brock Wood led the Cardinals with 40 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. He also ran a kickoff back for a 73 yard touchdown.
Daniel Burke added 31 yards on eight carries.
Wood was 2 for 5 passing for five yards. Burke completed 2 of 3 passes for 12 yards and Levi Blevins was 0 for 1 with an interception.
Wyatt Owens had two catches for five yards. Dylan Durbin had a catch for 10 yards and Guy Timbrook at a reception for two yards.
Defensively, Daniel Burke led with 12 total tackles. Wood, Dylan Broeckling and Cason Wilt each added 10 total tackles each. Gage Rainey and Luke Woutzke each had a fumble recovery.
The Cardinals will host Brookfield this Friday with kickoff at 7 p.m.
By Thad Requet