Warriors lose wild game to Eaglecrest at Stocker Stadium
Blunders on offense, special teams costly for Central
The success of a football team is traditionally broken down into three phases: offense, defense and special teams.
If any of those parts don’t perform well, it can be hard to win the game, which is something Central saw firsthand Friday in a 24-13 loss to Eaglecrest at Stocker Stadium.
The Warriors (3-3, 1-0 Southwestern Conference) struggled to move the ball offensively, getting only five first downs and 19 yards rushing on 20 attempts. The Central special teams unit gave up 11 points to a Raptors team that was limited to 183 yards of total offense.
“They shut us down, I mean their defense played very well,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “They played better than us today.”
Central looked sharp out of the gate, scoring on the first play from scrimmage, as former quarterback Clay Kame connected with Blaine Jackson for a 65-yard touchdown on a double pass. McGee said the play was a good answer for Eaglecrest’s swarming defense.
“They fly to the football and coach (Casey) Doss knew they would do that,” McGee said. “So that play worked well.”
The Raptors (2-4, 1-4 Centennial) responded with a 70-yard drive that lasted more than seven minutes and was capped by Terell Thompson’s 2-yard run. The extra point was blocked by Trent Harris, allowing Central to hold onto its one-point lead.
Running back Thompson was a big-game threat coming into the game with nearly 700 yards from scrimmage, but Central’s defense held him to 72 yards on 16 carries.
“All week we were like we have to shut down the dive and No. 9 and I think we did that,” Central linebacker Harris said.
But Thompson found other ways to make his impact on the game.
With less than one minute left in the first quarter, Thompson broke through the line and blocked Jeff Krizman’s punt.
The ball bounced right to Mike Lopez, who scampered 40 yards untouched to give Eaglecrest a 13-7 lead.
The Warriors were looking to respond and elected to go for it on a 4th-down-and-1 situation at their own 40-yard line, but quarterback Holden Reed’s sneak was stopped. The Raptors took advantage of the short field, scoring on a eight-play drive with Demaje Roper scoring on a reverse.
“We didn’t get it done in the first half,” Central coach Vern McGee said.
The second half was dominated by the defenses as the Warriors gave up three first downs and forced the Raptors to punt six times. Unfortunately, the Eaglecrest defense was just as stingy, forcing a safety on the Warriors’ first drive of the second half when Reed was sacked in the end zone.
Reed was under heavy pressure all day and his numbers suffered as he was 14 of 26 passing for 130 yards with an interception.
Unable to move the ball, the Warriors had another special teams blunder late in the third quarter when Central was forced to punt from the 1-yard line. The ball was snapped high and Krizman couldn’t handle it and the ball flew out of the back of the end zone, pushing Eaglecrest’s lead to 24-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
“It is upsetting because if you take off those points special teams gave up and we are in the game,” Harris said. “We didn’t practice real well this week and that might be part of the loss.”
Central finally put a scoring drive together with less than five minutes remaining in the game when it took advantage of a short field and Nolan Curtis scored on a 7-yard run.
The Warriors are back in conference play next week when they travel to Montrose.
“The kids will respond,” McGee said. “They know we have to get some more wins for playoff points so they will be ready to play.”