11/5/04 #2 Centennial @ #4 Cactus
Region Rivals- Centennial pounds Cactus to Clench Region Championship
In terms of rankings, this should have been the game of the week. Not only were Centennial and Cactus two of the top ranked (undefeated) teams in 4A football, but they are also traditional rivals who were fighting for the region championship. Cactus has been pulling off some very close wins this season and they hoped to upset favored Centennial; but the Cobras didn't even stand a chance tonight.
With Terry Longbons' ankle injury, the Coyotes decided to go with RB Tim House who proved to be just as athletic and dangerous as Longbons. Centennial received the ball first and looked surprisingly slow… methodic, but slow. They progressively drove down the ball, combining running and passing from multiple receivers and backs. Their first touchdown came on a 57 yard Joe Caskey pass to WR Junior Hackworth. Extra point blocked by Cactus LB Jake Liber.
So the Coyotes had scored and held the Cobras to zero points in the first quarter. But the game wasn't over by any means… right? Well, not until the second quarter anyway.
The first few plays of the second quarter set the tone for the rest of the game. On the opening play, Zach Merrill caught a 27 yard Caskey pass for a TD (great run after the catch by Merrill). Ryan Aird extra point good. On the kickoff, Centennial caught the Cobras off guard with a high on-side pooch kick which the Coyotes recovered. Starting from the Cactus 49, House was able to score on just two rushes (21 yard TD run). Aird extra point good. House, thanks to the enormous Centennial O-line, had been tearing the Cactus defense apart. But don't forget, House can also play defense. After his touchdown run, House picked off a Tobin pass and took it all the way to the "house" for an 85 yard touchdown. Aird extra point good. On their next possession, Zach Timberlin, who also had a great game rushing, tacked on a few more points with a bulldozing 47 yard touchdown run. Aird extra point good. If you think reading this is painful, imagine watching the game. The Coyotes decided to score one last time before the end of the half. This time Caskey hooked up with Matt Keith on a 37 yard touchdown pass. Extra point blocked by Mike May.
Don't look if you're squeamish… here's the numbers at the half:
Score: Centennial 40
Centennial: -rushing: 226 yards -passing: 165 yards
House: 11 rushes/125 yards 1 TD and one INT for 1 TD
Caskey: 7/11 165 yards 3 TD
Cactus: -rushing 43 yards -passing: 81 yards
Centennial came out just as strong in the second half as they did in the first half. On their first drive, Keith caught a 49 yard Caskey pass but was stopped at the two yard line. Timberlin then smashed the ball in for a touchdown. Aird extra point good. Cactus scored their only points late in the third quarter when Manny Solares caught a 21 yard Tobin pass and ran 30 yards to make it a touchdown. Extra point blocked by Alex Rodriquez. Centennial WR Hackworth scored the final touchdown of the game with a 30 yard touchdown reception. Aird extra point good.
Centennial's offense seems unstoppable… and that's without Longbons! Cactus' offense really didn't do to bad, only one turnover. However, they didn't have the firepower that we're used to seeing. Centennial has so many plans of attack: Longbons, House, Caskey, Timberlin, Hackworth. Can anybody stop them?
I don't know how many of you remember last years regional championship game between these two. It was the last game of the season, just like tonight, and Centennial beat Cactus, just like tonight. The Cobras later met the Coyotes in the playoffs and eliminated them, later going to ASU for the state championship game. Could it happen again? Possibly, but with such a dominating offense this year, not likely.
*House for stepping in and having a phenomenal rushing game, an interception and two touchdowns. (Sorry, couldn't get yardage for entire game, just the half)
*Caskey- 3 touchdown passes (almost 4: Matt Keith tackled just short at the 2).