Central football discharges Generals

Published 11:22 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Central High School’s varsity football team recovered from some of the offensive struggles that plagued it in its season opener and defeated visiting William Campbell High School, 42-28, Friday behind a particularly potent run game.

The Chargers generated 430 yards of offense on the ground against the Generals.

“I think our offensive line played extremely well, probably better than it’s played all year,” Central Head Coach Will Thomas said, adding “our backs played hard.”

Special teams also had a good game for the Chargers.

“We kicked it to (William Campbell) on the opening kickoff and got a fumble, so that was pretty big,” Thomas said.

Central’s Chris Fowler forced the fumble, and Raymond Alexander recovered it.

The Chargers turned this turnover into points, with their drive down the field being capped off by a Dashawn Moore 1-yard touchdown run.

Moore scored again later in the first quarter on a 3-yard run. Central entered the second quarter with a 14-0 lead.

“Ben Atkins kicked the ball very well on kickoffs and extra points,” Thomas said. “He missed one, but other than that, pretty good.”

The coach said Central’s defense did not play that badly, causing some turnovers, though it did also give up some big plays by the Generals.

“They got us a couple times on some passes,” Thomas said, as the Generals’ first touchdown came on a 12-yard toss in the second quarter.

The Chargers responded, as Brown capped off a drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, helping make the score 21-6.

Toward the end of the quarter, Central had another golden scoring opportunity.

“We drove down the field again and had it first-and-goal on the 1-yard line, getting ready to score, and we fumble,” Thomas said.

The Generals recovered it and ended up scoring on an 80-yard touchdown pass with around 30 seconds left in the half. They got the 2-point conversion, and suddenly, the score was 21-14 after it seemed like it was about to become 28-7.

The Chargers did not let this setback throw them off their game in the second half, though. They marched down the field on the first possession of the third quarter, and Moore reached the end zone on a 12-yard run, giving Central a 27-14 lead.

Later, Central made William Campbell punt, which ended up working out well for the Generals, at least in the short term.

“They punt it straight up in air, and it hits one of us, and they get it back,” Thomas said. “But they still don’t score.”

The Chargers, however, did add another touchdown in the quarter when junior Keenan Anunay scored on a 13-yard run. Moore got the two-point conversion to make the score 35-14.

In the fourth quarter, Central stopped the Generals but then fumbled the ball back to them, setting up their 55-yard catch-and-run touchdown and subsequent 2-point conversion.

Anunay helped put the game out of reach with a 12-yard touchdown run. The kick was good, giving the Chargers a 42-22 lead.

With its backup players in, Central fumbled again, William Campbell recovered it and returned it 65-yards for a touchdown as time expired.

The Chargers’ running attack, which featured the dynamic duo of Moore and Brown in the season opener, morphed into a triple threat Friday with the addition of Anunay.

“He had a very good game,” Thomas said. “He just stepped in.”

Moore led the team Friday, carrying the ball 33 times for 191 yards and three touchdowns. Brown had 20 carries for 134 yards and one touchdown and Anunay gained 82 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

“All three of them really had good games,” Thomas said.

But when handing out credit for the offensive success, the coach said it must also go to the offensive line, which featured Kester Long, Daquan Cleaton, Jackson Parsons, Garrett Williams and Jeffrey Goodwin.

On defense, Ben Spencer led the Chargers with 11 tackles, Alexander registered nine tackles and two fumble recoveries, Fowler had nine tackles and one forced fumble and Brown also generated nine tackles. Daryl Jones snagged an interception.

In anticipation of Friday’s 7 p.m. home game against Randolph-Henry High School, Central (1-1) has some things it will be focusing on in practice.

“We’ve got to work on our passing game a little bit,” Thomas said. “That’s got to improve from week to week. On offense, keep working on holding onto the football — too many mistakes there. And defense, we’ve just got to eliminate the big play.”