Centennial falls to Southridge in season opener
A slow start coupled with near constant mistakes and turnovers led to a poor showing for the Centennial High School football team in its premier game in its new 5A conference. The Eagles finished their home opener game 13-42 against the Southridge Skyhawks on Friday, Sept. 2.
Centennial fell behind early as the Skyhawks took to the air to gain yardage on their first possession. The visitors topped off their air assault with a short pass to the center of the end zone, putting them up early. The Skyhawks never gave up their lead.
The Eagles first possession showed promise that the home team might be able to keep up with the quick scoring visitors. Centennial's running back Gabe Welch brought the Eagles within striking distance with a pickup on the ground. Quarterback JD Self would scamper in on a quarterback-designed run to get the Eagles on the board. The problems started to arise when the preceding extra point was tipped, pushing the ball wide left.
The Skyhawks were quick to respond with another quick touchdown by Southridge quarterback Jack Klee to receiver Errol Moreland. The Eagles' struggle continued when a massive touchdown catch-and-run was negated by a holding penalty.
On defense, Centennial struggled to contain the pass. The Eagles' lackluster pass defense opened the run for the Skyhawks, giving running back Jackson Powell opportunities to break off some big runs.
Before the start of the second half, Centennial and Southridge exchanged possessions on four different turnovers. Unfortunately, the Eagles were never able to do anything when they received the ball in good position. The Skyhawks would finish the half up three scores, 6-28.
In the third quarter, the Eagles' defense seemingly woke up and stopped the bleeding. Despite giving the offense two solid stops, the Eagles wouldn't be able to gain any momentum in the second half. Two more touchdowns from Southridge and a late touchdown for the Eagles' Haiden Taylor would finish off the game.
"We just made way too many mistakes, not trying to take away anything Southridge did, but I would like to see us play a little bit more mistake free," said head coach Butch Self. "We have stuff to work on, and that is what the first game is about."
Frustration on the Eagles sidelines throughout the game was not hard to miss even from the stands. Self said that his team knew they could play better. Though they showed glimpses of that kind of play, he hopes the team learns from this game moving forward.
"We are not afraid of hard work and doing that work is in their personality," Self said. "Part of that is knowing that they made mistakes and know that they could do better. It is the kids who don't know they made a mistake that hurt you as a team, but I am not worried about that with these guys."
The Eagles will stay at home for their next game as they welcome Ridgeview at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9.
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