What a way to start the 2016 season! Two defending state champs face off in a Zero Week contest.
Centennial started the game and 2016 season just how the 2015 season ended by grinding out a drive behind their big offensive line.
The Coyotes opened with an 8 minute drive and took the lead on a 27 yard Xavier Rojas field goal. 3-0.
Desert Edge was forced to punt but Centennial muffed the punt and Desert Edge recovered. The Scorpions faced a 4th and 3 at the 6 yard line and elected to go for it, only to be turned away by the Coyote defense.
Similar story on Centennial's next drive. They drove into scoring range and turned the ball over on downs.
The first big play of the game came on Desert Edge's next drive. QB Tehran Thomas, who is committed to UC Davis, broke free for a 62 yard TD run. Scorpions took the lead 7-3 late in the 2nd quarter.
Centennial was able to take a 10-7 halftime lead on a Taylor Fiame TD run with 19 seconds left in the half. Junior RB Zidane Thomas had a 22 yard run and a personal foul helped move the chains for CeHS during the drive.
The Coyote defense forced a Desert Edge punt to start the 2nd half and Zidane Thomas then raced in for his first varsity score on a 52 yard TD run. 17-7 Centennial.
Desert Edge answered with a 33 yard TD run by Tehran Thomas to cut it to 17-14.
Momentum shifted on the next drive as DE linebacker Roshaun Johnson scooped a Centennial fumbled and scored to give Desert Edge the lead back, 20-17 in the 3rd quarter.
The teams exchanged fumbles on back to back plays in the 4th quarter but Desert Edge benefited from a lucky bounce...literally.
Centennial looked to get the ball back with a chance to take the lead back. Their defense forced a 3-and-out but on the punt, the ball hit the returner and Desert Edge recovered. The Scorpions then played smash mouth football, scoring on a short Dante Blissit run with 4 minutes left to take a 26-17 lead.
Centennial moved down the field, covering 71 yards in 2 minutes and scored to on a Ruben Beltran to Connor Sovacki pass. 26-24.
But with only 1 timeout, Desert Edge was able to take most of the time off the clock, giving Centennial one last play at the endzone, a pass that fell incomplete.
Final: Desert Edge 26 Centennial 24
These are two high quality teams that are contenders for the 5A title. What a good game this was. Was well worth the drive to Flagstaff to see it unfold.
Desert Edge QB Tehran Thomas for his 2 TD runs.