It was almost a shutout, until Montgomery County’s quarterback Adam Czerniewski pulled a surprise fourth quarter touchdown run out of the rain-sodden muck of the Montgomery County R-II football field.
For the previous three and a half quarters, the game was all Centralia’s, and, that is, the mud’s.
The Panthers’ quarterback Beau Gordon and tailback
Kyden Wilkerson carries the ball while Jack Romine blocks
Kyden Wilkerson did all Centralia’s scoring, two touchdown’s each, with Gordon adding a two-point conversion to his total.
Centralia scored early, when Gordon took an early Wilkerson 26 yard surf through the puddles, added a five-yard jaunt up the middle for touchdown at 8:51 in the first.
That awakened the Montgomery County defense and the managed to pull Centralia’s running game into mud and off the scoreboard for the rest of the first.
Gordon pulled himself out of what Centralia Head Coach Tyler Forsee called “the muddy mess,” at 7:47 in the second. That is when he “Beaudozed,” 13 yards up the middle for a touchdown, then followed it ups with a two-point conversion to make it 14-8.
Then it was Wilkerson’s turn, with 30 seconds left in the half, he took Gordon handoff six yards for a touchdown to make it 20-0 going into halftime.
Wilkerson struck again at 5:24 in the third, with a 24-yard touchdown run that left pursuing tacklers sliding off onto the field’s soupy surface.
That was Centralia’s last score, but it was enough.
“They’ve got a heck of a quarterback,” Montgomery County Wildcats Head Coach John Klekamp said afterward when asked how the Wildcats had planned for Centralia. “They played tough tonight and really got after us.”
Part of getting after them shows in the Panther defense’s game numbers.
Centralia held the Wildcats to 217 offensive yards and an average of 4.5 yards per play.
Gordon, Aiden Bourgeois, Seth Hasekamp and Brayden Shelton led Centralia’s defense in the tackling department.
Gordon had four solos and three assists, Bourgeois had four solos, Hasekamp was two and three and Shelton, three and one.
“We knew that was part of their game plan and what they were trying to accomplish,” Klekamp said. “We just couldn’t stop them… We played good defense the second half, but we gave up too many points in the first and just couldn’t’ drum up any offense.”
He said the field conditions were a factor on both teams’ offenses.
“With the conditions, it was tough to throw the ball… We struggled with that and they came after us.”
Centralia’s offense too 285 yards from the Wildcats, all of it on the ground. Wilkerson led the Panthers in rushing with 181 yards, followed by Gordon with 110. Centralia did not gain any passing yards, while Montgomery County gained 40.
“I’m proud of them,” Forsee said afterward of the Panthers, “They went out there and did the job. I told them it was going to be wet, it’s going to be cold and they embraced it…”
The field conditions were a challenge, but he said the Panthers played through it, “our kids are tough.”
Beau Gordon breaks away while Seth Hasekamp blocks
Forsee said his offensive and defensive lines are at full strength and just at the right time of the season. He also complimented some of the players who came in off the bench. ”Wyatt Bryson got in there and did some good work on the kickoff return… Mason Presley did a great job with that interception, that’s two straight weeks for him. A tough kid, works very hard, was at the right place and the right time.” For the complete article visit www.firesideguard.com.
Centralia is now 6-4 and this Friday night is heading to Hallsville for the second round of the district playoffs.