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Panther Football finishes regular season with a win.

Posted on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 4:22 am

Beats Macon 42-0

Listen below to Macon Head Coach Van Vanatta discuss the loss to Centralia. Fireside Guard Live! audio courtesy of Cox’ Barber Shop


Listen below to Centralia Head Coach Tyler Forsee discuss the win over Macon. Fireside Guard Live! audio courtesy of Cox’ Barber Shop

Centralia finished the regular season with a win, beating Macon 42-0 at Centralia High School’s Miller Field.

As fall’s sickle moon shined through the smoke wafting over the field from the Centralia Rotary’s grills, Centralia scored, scored and scored again.

They scored three times in the last six minutes of the first quarter.

Cullen Bennett, Centralia’s quarterback, tagged Rex Bryson with a 15-yard pass at 6:05 in the first to make it 6-0.

A minute and change later Bennett faked a quarterback sneak then pivoted east, handing the ball to Jesse Caballero, who ran six yards for a touchdown, then scored again, on the two-point conversion catching a pass from Beau Hatton, to make It 14-0 in less time that it takes to eat a Bluebird Bistro honey garlic chicken sandwich.

But the quarter was not over.

With 48 seconds left in the first, Drayden Conde streaked in from the two-yard line for touchdown number three, topped off by a two-point conversion pass to Austin Lopez, making it 20-0 as the first quarter closed.

Macon responded by turning their defense all the way up.

That didn’t stop Centralia from scoring again in the second, when Bennett faked a pass and handed the ball to Braeydn Decker, who ran it in for touchdown number four, followed by a two-point conversion pass to Hatton.

Centralia Panthers Head Coach Tyler Forsee said they made some adjustments in the second half.

That resulted in Centralia hammering two more touchdowns and another two-point conversion to make it 42-0 by the end of the third.

Caballero scored off a 65-yard run and followed it up with a two-point conversion.

Decker topped that with an 80-yard touchdown run with 1:02 left in the third.

The board read 42-0 and stayed that way to the final buzzer.

But Centralia’s Pile-driver Panther defense kept on hitting.

It held the Tigers to 49 yards for the entire game. Macon gained two of those yards passing, the other 47, rushing.

Emery Mast led the Centralia defense with 8 tackles, six solos and two assisted.

Hatton backed him up with six total, three solos and three assisted. Avery Bourgeois was 4/0, Braeden Russell – 4/1, Bryson – 3/1, Luke Waltermate – 3/3 and Ian Tuggle – 2/2.

The Panther offense took 440 yards from Macon, 338 on the ground and 102 in the air.

Cayden Dunn led the receiving corps with four receptions for 32 yards. Bryson was three for 32 and Hatton was one for 18.

Cabballero led the rushers with 126 yards in six attempts, followed by Decker who went 113 in 11 attempts and Bennett who went 53 yards in five, including a two-point conversion catch from Hatton. Bennett passed for 102 yards in16 attempts for 11 completions, one touchdown and one interception. Deke Maenner ran for 36 yards in two.

Friday, Oct. 26, the 8-1 Panthers will likely host 4-5 Hallsville in the first round of the district championships.

“This is it, playoff time,” Forsee told his team in the post-game huddle. “You guys need to continue to get sharper, continue to get better. Continue to make big plays and not be satisfied with what we’ve got. Great job, be proud of it… We need to continue to get better.”

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

Cayden Dunn contending with Macon’s pass coverage

Rex Bryson breaks away for a first down

Jesse Caballero breaks free for a touchdown

Braedyn DEcker first down bound