Second-half turnovers, penalties keep Warriors winless
LAKEWOOD — The Central High School football team has gotten into a bad habit.
The Warriors seem to fall into a trap, playing with (or outplaying) their opponents in the first half but watching their leads evaporate in the second half.
The latest example came Saturday at Trailblazer Stadium. After taking the lead against Class 3A D’Evelyn on the opening drive and carrying it through halftime, the Warriors fell victims to a short passing game, and to themselves, as the Jaguars rallied for a 38-29 victory.
“I think there’s a good base to our team. We’ve just got to keep the intensity up,” said senior wide receiver Josh Weller, who had a career day against D’Evelyn.
Weller caught five passes for 223 yards and scored two of Central’s three offensive touchdowns.
“The DBs were playing press (coverage); they were covering the flats,” Weller said, particularly in the second half. “They weren’t worried about deep.”
The Warriors took the opening drive 81 yards in 15 plays, including a key fourth-down conversion at the D’Evelyn 29-yard line.
Noah Sanchez got the honors from nine yards out for the score as Central took nearly seven minutes off the clock.
The Jaguars intercepted a Mike Price pass to set up their first score and tie the game early in the second quarter.
Central’s defense held the Jaguars to only 68 yards total offense in the first half but didn’t retake the lead until Connor Williamson recovered a fumble in the end zone with six seconds remaining in the half.
D’Evelyn made one major change at halftime. Having completed one of seven passes with two interceptions in the first half, the Jaguars went to the short pass, quick outs to the receivers and backs, to begin the third quarter. Eight straight completions opened up their offense.
“I think we were lining up right in the first half,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “I don’t think we were in the second.”
With the score tied at 14-14, D’Evelyn defensive back Connor Skelton picked up a fumble and ran untouched for 42 yards to put the Jaguars ahead.
After a partially blocked punt, D’Evelyn took over at the Central 43 and scored in five plays, the capper coming on a 64-yard pass from Connor Mateer to Skelton when Central had the Jaguars in a third-and-31 situation.
Weller did catch two long passes for scores in the second half, one for 81 yards and another for 65.
The other big change for the Warriors in the second half was their composure. It was D’Evelyn getting chippy in the first half to the Warriors’ benefit, but Central was penalized eight times in the second half, not counting two offsetting penalties. In all, the Warriors were flagged 16 times for 158 yards.
“I don’t have a word for it,” McGee said. “Yes, I do — it’s discipline.”
D’EVELYN 38, CENTRAL 29
up next: Central vs. Green Mountain, Friday