By ZACH HARMUTH | Photos by DOUG HOSLER
Rossview (4-5. 4-2), in a difficult match coming to visit Region 7-5A first-place Cougars (8-1, 6-0), was a consensus underdog.
But the Hawks looked like favorites almost all night, until the Cougars mounted a late comeback to win 28-24.
Down 24-21 with 6:43 left in the game, Centennial’s Austin Waddell recovered the Hawk’s second lost fumble of the night. That led to a 45-yard touchdown run by Jariel Wilson to give the Cougars their first lead since the first quarter with less than five minutes to play.
The Hawks’ next drive – and their upset hopes – ended on fourth-and-5 with 1:07 to play at the Cougars’ 45.
“It was a crazy game, and I think (Centennial head coach Matt Kriesky) said it best when he said we didn’t play our best game,” said Waddell, who recovered two fumbles and had the game-stopping tackle on the Hawks’ failed last fourth down try. “But a win is a win and we have to take it. We are traveling to play for the region title and no one even thought we had a chance.”
The Cougars now play for first place in Region 7-5A at Henry County next week (5-3, 5-1).
“We’ll get it fixed next week. The strength of our team is our defense, but we didn’t play too well defensively,” Kriesky said. “We couldn’t stop their power. Some guys just didn’t have a good game, but they made plays at the end of the game and that is all that matters.”
The Hawks, who sit in third place in the region, scored first Friday, kicking through a first-quarter field goal.
Waddell caught a big third-down pass to set up first-and-goal for Centennial in the ensuing drive. Running back Zyon Lee (21 carries, 119 yards, 1 TD) then knocked it in from three yards out to make it 7-3 Centennial with 4:06 left in the first.
The Hawks fumbled after the next few plays after the kick, forced by Tremond Coffee and recovered by Waddell, setting Centennial up on its own 44-yard line with 1:55 left in the first.
A string of hard-nosed runs by Matt Thurston (7 carries, 37 yards 1 TD) highlighted the ensuing Cougar drive, and he put an exclamation point on it with a 1-yard touchdown.
At 14-3 early in the second, Centennial looked headed for a blowout.
After the Thurston score, a 54-yard kick return set up a quarterback keeper touchdown for Rossview by Gino Avros (2-5, 30 yards, 13 carries, 4 yards, 2 TDs).
A recovered fumble on a misfired punt snap was recovered Austin Avros in the end zone to give the Hawks a 17-14 lead heading into halftime.
Rossview started the second half with a methodical, six-minute, 25-second drive, scoring on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on a Gino Avros dive for a 10-point lead.
A 47-yard run by Lee to the 13 set up goal-to-go. A penalty backed the Cougars up to a third-and-8, when Stewart found Tavion Fleming on a slant to make it a three-point game again, with 1:27 left in the third.
Rossview finished with 249 rushing yards and it threw for 33. Centennial ran for 213 and threw for 91.
|Rossview High School||3||14||7||0||24|
|Centennial High School||7||7||7||7||28|