Don't tell Maryvale that they're just the Jermaine Williams show. The Panthers have a lot more talent than the ASU bound defensive lineman and they proved it Thursday night on the Cox7 Game of the Week to a live television audience and the Centennial Coyotes, winning 35-21 on the ‘Yotes home field.
The goal of the Panthers on this night was to bring down the House, Centennial's outstanding tailback Tim House. However, House had a few moves in the first half that the Panthers hadn't seen in their previous four games. The Coyotes took the opening drive 73 yards, scoring on a Shane Mascarenas pass to House. House caught the ball in the right flat, reversed field and scored from 30 yards. Two long Maryvale drives turned up empty as they failed to convert fourth down plays. The Panthers finally got on the board in the second quarter, a 10 play, 75 yard drive that tailback Ron Huckaby cashed on a 19 yard run outside and the game was tied at halftime 7-7.
The Coyotes lost House for the evening when he was tackled late in second quarter as Centennial was driving. He came up limping with a sprained ankle and ended his night with 8 carries for 42 yards and the 30 yard scoring reception.
This seemed to rejuvenate the Panthers in the second half and nobody took greater advantage than Huckaby. The senior broke loose in the second half on two long touchdown runs, one a 73 yarder and another from 87. He ended the game with 336 yards rushing on 27 carries and 3 scores as the Panthers rushed for 455 on the night. Huckaby has rushed for over 600 yards and 7 touchdowns the past two games.
The defense came up big time and again as Eric Williams, younger brother of Jermaine, returned a fumble 28 yards for a score and Robert Allen picked off Mascarenas twice.
Mascarenas looked real good throwing the ball for the Coyotes, completing 17 of 35 for 253 yards and 2 TDs. Justin Garman was his main target, catching 7 balls for over a hundred yards. Another player who showed a lot of potential for Centennial was sophomore Jerrell Barbour. He caught a touchdown and almost broke a kickoff for a score.
Jermaine Williams was his usual wrecking crew self, pounding the ball up the middle from his fullback spot for several big gains and constantly harassing Centennial on defense. He had several tackles for loss, a sack and a half, and generally made Mascarenas' life miserable. He also was instrumental in several of Huckaby's runs as the lead blocker. There's no doubt he's the real deal.
Centennial's junior defensive lineman Tom Ramsey had an outstanding game with two sacks on Maryvale QB Oscar Navarro. He's a force to be reckoned with for the next year and a half. Linebacker Zach Timberlin and defensive end Greg Gallegos also turned in solid performances.
Maryvale has a ton of talent. No surprise there. They have four or five go to guys on offense, a solid, smart quarterback in Navarro, and some big playmakers on the defensive side in Brantwon Bowser, Mike Davis, Eric Williams, and Deyon Bowser to go along with big Jermaine and Allen. If they can cut down on penalties and get some more consistent line play, they have to be dealt with come playoff time. Hopefully, the lack of a quality placekicker won't hurt them at some point.
Centennial still has a good shot in the relatively weak 5A division 2 level. There are probably six or seven quality teams that will compete for the title. The Coyotes are one of them. They need a healthy House back and need to keep developing the passing game. This will be a game that will help them down the line. A lot of young players got quality playing time in a big game. Remember, they returned just 2 starters on offense and four on defense. With a healthy House, they had a chance to win this game. They won't see another back as good as Huckaby the rest of the year.
Next week the Cox7 caravan stays on the west side as we visit the undefeated (as of September 29) Milennium Tigers den as they host the high flying Sunnyslope Vikings and their outstanding all-around star TJ Campbell. Adios until next Thursday at 7 PM on Cox7, the home of high school sports.