Palisade dominates Central
Fourth-ranked Bulldogs' offense unstoppable in 41-6 win
Luke McLean broke his shoulder pads, but it didn’t stop him from making plays.
The Palisade High School senior quarterback quickly put on a new set and went back out there, dismantling Central’s defense in the fourth-ranked Bulldogs’ 41-6 victory Friday at Stocker Stadium.
“I broke my pads, so we had to switch jerseys,” McLean said. “There’s always something weird going on with us.”
McLean rushed for 89 yards and one touchdown and completed 5 of 7 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown to lead Palisade.
“Luke’s a horse,” Palisade coach John Arledge said. “He’s smart. The last TD, he called. He had a chance to audible. He makes great adjustments.”
Palisade opened the game with an 11-play, 68-yard drive, eating up nearly six minutes of the clock to establish control.
The Warriors had a chance to make Palisade go three plays and out, but McLean hit Caden Woods for an 18-yard pass on third-and-10. Seven plays later, Levi Hoaglund caught a 12-yard pass from McLean at the goal line for a touchdown.
“It really set the tone,” McLean said. “We knew they would come out strong, bringing a lot of people. Our inside running game was going to be hard. We went with that boot. Caden made the catch, and he ran well after the play.”
Central went three and out and had to punt from its own territory, and Hoaglund broke through the line and blocked the punt. Teammate Clay Young recovered and the Bulldogs scored again on Woods’ seven-yard run for a 14-0 lead.
“When Hoaglund blocked that punt, that was huge,” Arledge said. “We always try to put pressure on the punter. He made a really good move.”
Central moved deep into Palisade territory on its next possession, but a penalty backed them up into a third-and-long situation.
“The penalty hurt,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “We have a first down, but we don’t have enough guys on the line of scrimmage.
“They are a good team; I just wish we would’ve played better.”
Central recovered a Palisade fumble on the Bulldogs’ next possession. The Warriors moved into scoring territory, but went for the touchdown instead of settling for a field goal on fourth-and-4 from the nine-yard line. Palisade linebacker Braxton Stewart knocked down Mike Price’s pass.
Central didn’t have its kicker and had to go for it on fourth down, McGee said.
“Our secondary covered everything up,” McLean said. “Braxton is a tall, lanky kid. He just knocked it down.”
The Bulldogs put together a 12-play, 66-yard drive, using more than five minutes of the clock before Woods scored on a six-yard run for a 21-0 lead just before halftime.
Palisade quickly picked up where it left off in the third quarter with Spencer Jackson’s 47-yard interception return for a touchdown along the Palisade sideline.
The Bulldogs ran down the field on their next possession with McLean scoring on a 35-yard run for a 35-0 lead.
Palisade’s Dalton Hannigan scored on a 10-yard run for a 41-0 lead late in the third quarter, starting the running clock for the rest of the game.
Central, though, avoided the shutout with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Mike Price to Josh Weller.
Central senior Edward Beecoat sustained a possible broken hip, McGee said, when Beecoat was trying to avoid a safety on a reverse midway through the third quarter.
He was taken to a hospital by ambulance.
“There’s nothing nice about it,” said Arledge, who has broken a hip before. “It takes forever to heal.”