Central’s coverage on kicks aids win

Central High School’s Nolan Curtis cuts back as he picks up yardage during the first half of Friday’s game against Durango at Stocker Stadium.

The Central High School football team was hoping to get its offense back on track Friday in its regular-season finale with Durango.

What the Warriors found, however, was a new weapon: the kicking game.

Central recovered a muffed opening kickoff and two pooch kicks en route to a 34-19 Southwestern Conference victory over the Demons at Stocker Stadium.

“To be honest, those were all mistakes,” Central coach Vern McGee said of his kickoff team’s three recoveries.

The first came off the knee of the up receiver on Durango’s kickoff return team, which Central recovered at the Demon 31 on the game’s opening play. With only one minute and 20 seconds gone, the Warriors converted that mistake into a Nolan Curtis touchdown, who went in untouched from the 1-yard line for the score.

Central place-kicker Jeff Krizman then got under the ensuing kickoff. It arched high in the air but only went 12 yards. The Central front line pounced on the live ball at the Durango 48.

“Luckily our kickoff team is smart,” McGee said.

In fact, it wasn’t until more than six minutes had elapsed that the Durango offense finally got its hands on the ball.

Meanwhile, the Central offense, which had scored only one touchdown in a loss to Montrose two weeks ago and two in a victory over Grand Junction last weekend, wanted to kick things in gear and gain some momentum heading into next week’s first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

The Central offense was diverse. Three players gained at least 35 yards rushing, led by Curtis’ 98 yards.

“Casey (Doss, the Central offensive coordinator) did a nice job on that,” McGee said of spreading the wealth.

Five receivers caught passes, with Blaine Jackson’s five receptions for 52 yards leading the way. Four players scored rushing touchdowns for the Warriors.

“We hadn’t been doing what we wanted to offensively,” quarterback Holden Reed said. “This was the week we (committed) to doing better. We did everything in our power to execute.”

In addition to run blocking for 260 rushing yards, the line protected Reed, who was sacked only once.

He had time in the pocket to complete 12 of 19 passes for 110 yards.

“Up front is where I thought we won it,” McGee said. “Our line did a good job.”

Central (5-4, 3-1 SWC) began the week ranked 19th in the Colorado High School Activities
Association’s Class 5A points system. Thirty-two teams qualify for the 5A playoffs.

“We probably didn’t move a whole lot, but we didn’t move down,” McGee said.

The Warriors will likely draw a road game to open the playoffs next weekend.

Regardless of where they play, “Our goal is to go as far as we can,” Reed said.


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