Centralia wins, 34-28
It was the game everybody had been waiting for. Black and White vs. Purple and Gold.
By the 9:45 p.m., when the Miller Field lights went out Black and White had won, but not easily.
After starting strong, the Centralia Panthers had to play almost two-quarters of catch-up football to beat the visiting Hallsville Indians 34-28.
“We knew it would be a dogfight,” Hallsville Head Coach Justin Conyers told his team afterward.
The score by quarter reflects that:
First quarter: 12-12, Centralia took the lead early, at the 9:37 mark, only to see Hallsville take it back, regain it, then see Hallsville tie the score.
Second quarter: 20-18 Hallsville, leaving the west side of the stadium stunned as the Panthers went into the locker room, down by two.
Third quarter: 28-26, Hallsville, Centralia had regained then lost the lead after Hallsville quarterback Tyger Cobb completed an 11-yard pass to AJ Austen for a touchdown, followed by a Cobb to Matt Salas handoff for a successful two-point conversion.
Central regained the lead in the fourth and found a way to stay to stay there with a last-minute drive and finding their pass defense when they really needed it.
Behind by two, with a minute and change left, Centralia quarterback Beau Gordon connected with Jackson Wells for a 60 yard pass. The Panther offense, behind Luke Hunter’s rushing, ground to the one-yard line when Gordon torpedoed up the middle holding the ball atop a pile of Indians for the touchdown. He then completed a shovel pass to Land Matthews to seal the deal.
Cobb and the Indians offense went into full passing mode with 56 second left, but after three quarters of ruling the air, Centralia finally found their anti-aircraft equipment and shut Cobb’s passing down and kept the win on Centralia ground.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy,” Conyers told his team afterward on the north end of Miller Field. “But we can’t afford to play ‘what if ball.’ We’ve got to get better. . . All of this will make us a better football team and push us toward districts. That is what this is all about now. Hold your head high, this is what the game is about.”
Centralia Panthers Head Coach Tyler Forsee agreed.
“Both teams played their hearts out,” he said afterward.
When asked what made the difference, he said, “Our seniors made big plays when we needed them. You expect that, but we shot ourselves in the foot a few times, Hallsville executed well, but we did a good job of regrouping and getting our heads back up… These kids are used to facing adversity since last spring. It was nice to see them do it out on the football field and get rewarded for it… It was a full-team effort.”
Here is the effort, by the numbers.
• Centralia’s offense took 240 yards, while its defense held Hallsville to 337 yards
• Hallsville completed 67 plays to Centralia’s 42
• Hallsville’s Cobb passed for 185 yards to Gordon’s 111
• Hallsville rushed for 152 yards to Centralia’s 129. Harrison Fowler led Hallsville with 76 yards, Luke Hunter led Centralia with 85.
• Hallsville had three turnovers to Centralia’s one
Hallsville had 21 first downs to Centralia’s 11.
Next Friday night Centralia travels to Brookfield and Hallsville to Versailles.
For the full article and more photos, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.