Grandview overwhelms Central with its size, speed
Grandview proved to be too big and too fast for Central High School.
In the first game of the season for both teams, the Wolves opened up a 21-0 first-quarter lead Friday afternoon and cruised to a 38-7 win at Stocker Stadium.
“Last year they were really fast, and this year they were big and fast,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “We knew it was going to be tough, but we played hard.”
The Warriors had trouble gaining positive yardage against Grandview’s defense, and finished with 80 yards of total offense. Central was hurt by rushing for only five net yards on 30 attempts.
Central’s lone touchdown came with less than two minutes remaining, when Central quarterback Holden Reed led a 49-yard drive that included two long passes to Jarrett Higginson. Reed capped the drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown.
The final drive helped Reed finish 7 of 13 passing for 82 yards.
“It was good the offense got that score,” McGee said. “I know they were a little discouraged.”
The main reason for Central’s lack of offensive success was a lighting-quick 3-5 defense led by Notre Dame-bound linebacker Chris Martin. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound senior set the tone on the first play of the game when he stuffed Central running back Joe Smith in the hole for no gain.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and that was one of the better defenses I have seen,” McGee said. “They were big and fast and coached very well. We talk about as a defense squeezing things down, and they did a great job with that.”
With Martin on one side, the Warriors had limited options, because the Wolves’ other outside linebacker, Eddie Yarbrough, caused just as much havoc.
“Eddie was our only returning starter, and he is very physical,” Grandview coach John Schultz said. “Chris gives us two of those guys. He’s getting pressure and making people make bad decisions.”
The Wolves forced Central to punt after three plays on its first two offensive series.
Grandview’s offense was efficient out of the gates, going on a 10-play drive for its first touchdown when Kory Daven ran it in from 4 yards out. The Wolves’ next touchdown came a short time later when they capped an eight-play drive with quarterback Zack Nelson scoring on a 1-yard sneak.
With Grandview holding a 14-0 lead, the Wolves strung together a series of big plays after Reed was intercepted by Korey Williams, who took it 53 yards for a touchdown. The Wolves followed that up with a blocked punt they turned into a 30-yard Luke Tomlinson field goal.
Grandview took a 24-0 lead into the locker room.
“One of our goals after halftime was not to give up,” McGee said. “We gave up a few short-field touchdowns but we played hard.”
Central allowed 38 points, but gained confidence on defense. The Warriors didn’t allow any plays of more than 40 yards and held the Wolves scoreless in the fourth quarter.
“I thought our defense played pretty good overall,” Central linebacker Mike Martinez said.
“We had short field a lot of times, but held them to a couple of three and outs.”
Central will attempt to bounce back next week when they play at Horizon.
“We all had energy,” Martinez said. “It was fun for the first game, but we will be better for next week.”