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John Rincon and Centennial move on to title game.

Coyotes on to Title Game

Senior running backs John Rincon and Quinton Gomez combined for over 300 rushing yards between them as the sixth-seeded Centennial Coyotes defeated previously undefeated Mountain Pointe Pride 31-21 in Friday's semifinal showdown at Desert Vista High.

After forcing Mountain Pointe to punt on the game's opening drive the Coyote offense wasted no time in letting their intentions for the night be known; Coach Richard Taylor's forces ran the ball 14 times on an 81-yard drive that culminated in tight end Andrew Nichols pulling in a six-yard touchdown pass from Isaac Steele. 

Two series later the Mountain Pointe offense showed why they sported an unblemished record after 12 games when junior receiver Jalen Brooks bolted past the Centennial secondary to grab a 45-yard scoring strike from Jack Smith to tie the game up midway through the second quarter.  Brooks accounted for 55-yards on the drive, also snaring a 9-yard catch on second-and-nine to setup his score.

Centennial responded with another long drive, moving the ball from the shadow of their end zone to score on a three-yard run by Steele with 15.6 seconds left in the first half.  Senior receiver Carl Barrs had the key play of the series, wrestling the ball away from a Pride defender for a 46-yard gain that put the Coyotes in Mountain Pointe territory.  Centennial looked to take that momentum into the locker room, but Jalen Brooks and the Pride special teamers refused to cooperate.  Behind some sound blocking Brooks turned what looked to be a routine squib kick into a 71-yard score to tie up the game.

The Coyotes showed little ill effect from Brooks' electrifying score, as they opened the second half much of the same way they opened the game.  Gomez toted the ball eight times behind the powerful blocking of Centennial's massive offensive line, including the one-yard touchdown plunge that gave the Coyotes the 21-14 lead.  Xavier Rojas would connect on a 29-yard field goal later in the third to extend their lead to 24-14.

Mountain Pointe would fight back once more, with Brooks making a 24-yard grab and Macarious Blount ripped-off a 28-yard run to move the ball into Centennial territory.  A nine-yard run by Blount and a defensive pass interference call against the Coyotes moved the Pride into the red zone, and Blount's three-yard score with 11:41 left in the game pulled Coach Norris Vaughan's squad to within three at 24-21. 

Centennial responded once more in their trademark fashion, with Gomez surging for a 21-yard run and Rincon powering through the Pride defense for a 57-yard score two plays later.  Mountain Pointe mustered-up one more drive to get the ball to the Centennial 16, but on fourth-and-four Blount was dropped for a four-yard loss by Coyote defender Randy Rodriguez to effectively end the game.

BOTTOM LINE

It's not surprising that a game between two teams known for stellar line play would be decided in the trenches; Centennial's giant, bullish offensive line opened holes for both Gomez and Rincon all night, while the Coyotes' three-headed d-line monster of Chris Jules, Andrew Nichols, and Randy Rodriguez harassed Mountain Pointe's elusive quarterback (Smith).  Mountain Pointe showed the capacity to explode for big plays but could not do so consistently enough to pull out the 31-21 win. 

GAME BALL

Gomez eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the game, Rincon contributed 142, and the stout o-line gave them the holes to do that.  The Coyote defensive line kept Smith uncomfortable all night.


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