Touchdowns and tears.
That is one way to describe the scene at Centralia High School’s Miller Field Friday night.
At 9:40 p.m., the Centralia Panthers’ football season ground to a halt, with a 46-40 rollercoaster of a season ending loss to Christian High School Eagles.
It started good for Centralia.
Panther quarterback John Durant rode the Centralia offense’ Jake Freidel, Grafton Litterell and Luke Hunter-powered first possession tidal wave in to score at 8:48 in the first with a two yard drive up the middle to make it 6-0 Centralia faster than BoneZai the Basset could chow down on a Hog Haven cheeseburger.
Christian wasted no time.
On their next possession, Christian quarterback Kaden McMullen slice a 25-yard touchdown pass to AJ Taylor to tie the score.
That became a familiar and repetitive scene.
Centralia would ground, pound, burn up the clock for a touchdown.
Then they would block three Christian passes, only to see the fourth become a first down or a touchdown.
With 1:44 left in the first, Jake Freidel ran a reverse west side button hook up the middle for another touchdown, followed by a Grafton Littrell two-point conversion down the west sideline.
Christian struck back in the top of the second with another McMullen pass, this time 37yards to Kalin Black to tie the game at 14.
Beau Gordon did not think that was right and at 4:22 in the second he bulldozed seven yards up the middle to make it 21-14 Centralia after a Freidel extra-point kick.
Christian responded with two big plays, a 70-yard touchdown pass at 1:18 and another for 37 yards with six second left in the half, making it 28-21 Christian.
That was the pattern, one observer said: “The ground and pound for the Panthers vs the air raid Eagles. With the Centralia backs tearing off five” yards a carry it was a slow meticulous pace for the home team. Conversely when Christian snapped the ball it was all about the big play.
Centralia had its share of those two.
They came back from halftime with some adjustments, promptly tying the game at 28 after Littrell blasted through Christian’s line for a touchdown followed by a Freidel extra point kick.
Then with barely two minutes left in the third, Christian snuck in a 31-yard field goal to put them up by three, 31-28.
Then came the fourth quarter.
By then the theme was the Eagles would score while stretching the field and the Panthers overpowered the line getting chunk gains. It looked like that might be the ticket, get the ball, grind out long possessions and score keeping the high octane Eagles of the field.
McMullen struck again with another touchdown pass, 58-yards, seemingly cementing their lead at 38-28.
Durant responded with anther drive culminating in a seven yard Freidel touchdown run from nine yards out, but he was unble to get the extra-point kick between the uprights.
They were not done. Thirty seconds and change later, Gordon ran in his second touchdown from 50 yards out to bring the lead back to Centralia, 40-38, despite Christian blocking Freidel’s extra-point kick…
For the rest of the article, including coaches’ comments, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.