By ZACH HARMUTH Photos by JOSH VARDAMAN
Even when West Creek (0-5, 0-4 Region 7-5A) caught a break in their 37-0 loss at regional foe Centennial on Friday night, they could not catch a break.
Already up 21-0 with 2:39 left in the first half, the Cougars threw a pick.
WC took over on their own 2-yard line, only for Devious Christmon to blow through the line and turn the pick into a safety and a 23-0 lead. Thus the Cougars, who promptly scored again with the extra possession on a Jariel Wilson run, turned their only mistake into 9 points in less than three minutes, taking a 30-0 lead at the half.
Centennial, which is tied with last season’s team for the program’s best start ever at 5-1 (3-0 Region 7-5A), just had that kind of night.
“We are feeling pretty good. Obviously we need to continue getting better each day,” said Austin Waddell, who with his two catches on the night had the team’s first and last touchdowns, for 78- and 22-yards. “The loss to Independence still stings, so hopefully we can have a chance to avenge that later on.”
Like last year at this point, running an identical slate with only home/away flipped, the Cougars only loss is against Independence in Week 2.
Wilson (8 rushes, 49 yards) also scored twice, while quarterback Tre Stewart (11 of 17 for 249 yards, INT) threw three touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, the Centennial defense forced six punts in the Coyotes’ first six possessions and held them to 34 yards total offense on the night.
“I feel pretty good where we are at right now,” said head coach Matt Kreisky, who’s in his first year with the Cougars. “But we can’t be satisfied, and we have to continue working. This being homecoming week, as a coach you never like having to deal with a lot of distractions, but I think these young men came out here and handled it well.”
It seemed like it was the West Creek secondary that looked distracted early, as Waddell got behind the defense to catch a bomb down the right sideline for 78 yards and a 7-0 lead with 2:29 left in the first quarter.
Then, after holding the Coyotes to a punt, a 33-yard Tony Hall catch set up Wilson for his first score, a 25-yard run, with 9:07 in the second quarter.
Getting the ball back after yet another punt, Stewart stewarded another nice drive that ended when he found Tavion Fleming in the end zone on a 9-yard pass for 21-0 advantage with 4:48 left in the half. Fleming finished with 5 catches for 92 yards.
The Coyotes, who lost to the Cougars 43-6 in their meeting at West Creek last September, went into halftime on pace for an even worse blowout in the rematch.
Things did not get better for them.
On the first drive of the third quarter, down at the Coyotes’ 21-yard line, a pass intended for Wall tipped off his fingers and right into the waiting hands of Waddell in the end zone for a 37-0 lead.
“It was a good throw by Tre to Tony, and it would have been a tough catch if he caught it,” Waddell said. “I was just fortunate enough to have it tip up and land right in my arms. If I wouldn’t have caught it I probably wouldn’t have gone back to the huddle; it was so easy.”