Centre wins, 36-28
Clear skies, a full moon, and moderate temperatures set the stage Friday for a great opening night in high school football. The Centre Cougars hosted the Goessel Bluebirds.
Goessel came out surprisingly weak in the first half, as Centre’s strong defense forced a punt in each of the Bluebirds’ five possessions. Meanwhile, the Cougars completed three touchdowns and four extra points, to lead 22-0 at halftime.
But the Cougars hadn’t seen anything yet. The Bluebirds came back in the second half looking like a different team. They began moving the ball and scored a touchdown in their first possession.
It didn’t take long for Centre to respond. The Cougars scored on just one play as Houston Svoboda ran 41 yards for a touchdown. After a failed conversion attempt, Centre led, 28-6.
So far, so good. But Goessel scored the next two touchdowns and added two extra points to come within eight points, 28-20, with 8 minutes and 13 seconds remaining.
The Cougars knew they were in a fight for their life, and fight they did. They spent almost the next seven minutes in an intense drive for the end zone.
It didn’t start out well. Centre received the ball on the 20-yard line, but a block-in-the-back penalty on the Cougars set them back to the 9-yard line.
After a couple of short gains by Svoboda and quarterback Kyle Methvin, receiver Justin Deines caught a pass and ran to the 36-yard line for a first down before being tackled. Kendall Harding carried the ball to the 15-yard line but fumbled it. However, Terren Thompson jumped on the ball for a Centre save and another first down.
After a 5-yard offside penalty on Goessel, the Cougars had a first and 5. After no gain on the first try, Svoboda was brought down 1 yard behind the line in the second try, but Thompson then received the ball for a first down at the 4-yard line.
That last 4 yards proved hard to get. Harding was brought down for a loss of 2 on the first try. Then Methvin fumbled the snap and fell on the ball with a loss of another 4 yards. That made it third and 10. Deines caught a pass just short of the goal line, and on the fourth down, Methvin punched through the center for a touchdown. The conversion attempt was good, and Centre led, 36-20, with 1:57 remaining.
A Goessel pass was intercepted by Deines at the 14-yard line in the Bluebirds’ next possession. The night appeared to be over for them. But then Harding fumbled a screen pass from Methvin, and a Goessel player picked up the ball and walked into the end zone for a touchdown. After adding 2 extra points, the Bluebirds again were within 8 points.
With 1 minute, 14 seconds remaining, Goessel attempted an onside kick. It failed, and Centre took over on their 38-yard line. As time was running out, Methvin took a knee and the Cougars breathed a sigh of relief, thankful for a 36-28 victory.
Centre compiled 49 carries for 305 yards; Goessel had 26 carries for 88 yards. Svoboda was the leading rusher with 15 carries for 124 yards. Harding had 13 carries for 92 yards, and Methvin had 21 carries for 89 yards.
Methvin threw 7 completed passes for 104 yards. Deines was the leading receiver, with 6 receptions for 98 yards. Goessel compiled 120 yards in the air.
The Cougars play Friday at Wakefield.