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Centralia Panther football hosts Mexico shutout

Posted on Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 1:01 am

Panthers win 27-0

A half-moon shined down on a sweltering crowd at Centralia High School’s Miller field the night of August 25.

Listen here to Mexico and Centrala’s head coaches discuss the game below.


Listen Below to Mexico Head Coach Steve Haag discuss the loss to Centralia.










Listen Below to Centralia Head Coach Tyler Forsee discuss the win over Mexico.

Dominated, might be descriptive for what Centralia did during the game. Mexico kicked off. Centralia received. Then in the first play of Centralia’s season, Panther quarterback Cullen Bennet twitched his shoulders left, then pivoted right, throwing the first pass of the season to Cayden Dunn, who ran the ball 61 yards for the first touchdown of Centralia’s season.  Centralia got on the board faster than a hungry hound could scarf down a Centralia Rotary hamburger.

Cayden Dunn makes a catch

Bea Hatton on his way to a touchdown

Ben Romine reaching for a pass

Cullen Bennett passes

Bringing down a Bulldog

Rex Bryson dives for a punt

Drayden Conde catches a kick

That woke up Mexico’s defense and Bennett got to show off his All-state punting skills the rest of quarter. Mexico got to punt too, with less effect but neither team scored until 1:42 in the second.

With halftime, and the prospect of air-conditioned locker rooms looming in the immediate future, Bennett threw another pass.  Sixty-one  yards this time, into the waiting hands of Beau Hatton, who scored touchdown number two.

Then the teams resumed their war of attrition with neither team scoring.

That is until around the two-minute mark in the third, when Mexico fumbled and Centralia got the ball around their 35-yard line.

Bennett faded back to pass, but two Mexico tackles broke through, bracketing him for what looked to be a Panther sandwich, when Bennett stiff-armed one and juked past the other for a 17-yard run.

The next play saw Drayden Conde run over the west side of the goal line for another Panther touchdown.

The fans got to see one more touchdown before the whistle blew.

At the 5:45 mark, Logan Rosenfelder carried an 11-yard Bennett pass across the line for the game’s last touchdown. Anthony Ford capped it with the first successful extra point kick of the season.

When it was over, Centralia  had their first win and Mexico, their first loss.

Rex Bryson and Hatton led Centralia’s shut-out defense with eight tackles each. Bryson with five solo tackles and three assists,  Hatton, three and five.

Waytt Bryson had seven tackles – three solos and four assists, Emery Mast, five tackles – three solos and two assists, and Ian Tuggle five tackles – three solos and two assists.

In the process the Panther defense held Mexico to 208 yards, 10 passing and 198 rushing.

Centralia’s offense gained 301 yards against Mexico,183 in the air and 118 on the ground.

All of the passing yards were Bennett’s, who also rushed for 20 yards.

Jesse Caballero led Centralia in rushing with 61 yard in nine attempts. Conde backed him up, going for 19 on four carries and Deke Maenner one carry for 12 yards.

Hatton led in receptions gaining 73  yards in two receptions.  Dunn caught two receptions for 67 yards and Rosenfelder caught two for 27.

Next week, Centralia hosts the Hallsville Indians, who beat Palmyra 46-6 in Palmyra.

For more, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.