Chargers win in regional first round

Published 12:22 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Central High School advanced out of the first round of the Class 1 Region B playoffs Friday night with a 56-20 victory over visiting Cumberland County High School.

No. 3 Chargers (5-6) will now visit No. 2 William Campbell High School (8-2) on Friday at 7 p.m. in the regional semifinals.

Will Thomas, Central’s head coach, continued to express concern about his team’s defense in the wake of the Chargers’ first-round victory, though he saw reasons to be optimistic.

“We were a little flat on defense,” he said. “We started out well, and then they kind of moved the ball. We made a few adjustments at halftime, and I thought Coach (Wallace) Owen did a pretty good job.”

Central led 14-0 after the first quarter, 35-14 at halftime and 56-14 after three quarters, allowing opportunity for the Chargers to pull their starters early.

“A lot of kids got to play,” Thomas said. “Everybody got to play, even some (junior varsity) kids that we had pulled up, so they were excited about that.”

Chargers junior running back Dontae Crowder added another outstanding performance to a season in which he has produced many. Against the No. 6 Dukes (0-11), he only ran the ball 15 times but gained 210 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He also completed a pass.

“He’s really a standout on all three — special teams and defense and offense,” Thomas said. “He’s been a pleasant surprise. We knew he was pretty good, but we didn’t know he was going be as, I mean, he’s flirting up there with almost 2,000 yards for the year. We’ve only had in school history one to do that, so that’s pretty impressive.”

Sophomore running back T’zion Wilkerson had three carries for 111 yards and a touchdown.

However, Central was dealt a serious blow when Wilkerson, also a linebacker, had to leave the game early with an ankle sprain that could keep him out of Friday’s game.

The Chargers faced William Campbell on Sept. 1 near the start of the regular season and fell 41-36.

“We played them second game, so they probably weren’t hitting on all cylinders, but now it looks like they are,” Thomas said. “… In the Dogwood District, they play some good teams. So, they’re good.”

He noted their quarterback, senior Josh Rosser, is a playmaker, and their offense is balanced.

If Wilkerson is out, sophomore fullbacks Darrien Jones and Khalil Wood and freshman running back Cameron Kates will be getting more carries.