Centennial v. La Joya

With both teams coming into the game undefeated, some dubbed Friday's contest between Centennial and La Joya as a battle with region title implications. If those predictions were true, Centennial looks primed for a third straight Desert West Region title.

Centennial opened up a quick 13-0 lead thanks to a pair of 35-yard scores; quarterback Dain McFarland connected with Justin Callahan on the Coyotes' first series, and running back John Hughes would sprint in from the 35 for the quick lead.  La Joya looked as if it would close the gap when quarterback Jeremiah Cornist ripped off a 75-yard run before being downed inside the Centennial 10, but the Coyote defense would stiffen to force the Lobos into a short field goal. 

 

Centennial would score again when Anthony Hughes would cap a 70-yard drive with a 12-yard run; Ryan Shaugher's point after would push the Coyote lead to 20-3.  After a short kickoff return La Joya would start their next series on their own ten-yard line, and after Esteban Urbalejo was dumped for a two-yard loss a Lobo false start planted the La Joya offense perilously close to their own goal line.  Centennial's defense would take advantage of the situation, as defensive end Jimmie Lewis would rush in and force Cornist to fumble.  Linebacker Adam Garday would recover the fumble as the Coyotes' lead grew to 27-3. 

 

The Centennial defense continued to play big, holding the Lobos to a three-and-out to set up John Hughes' second touchdown, this time from 52-yards out.  A blocked punt by the Coyotes deep in La Joya territory would result in no points thanks to a La Joya block of a Shaugher field goal attempt, but McFarland would strike again on Centennial's next possession on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Matt Baugh.  Shaugher would connect on a 35-yard kick before the end of the first half as Centennial went into the locker rooms with a commanding 43-3 lead.

 

McFarland would get his third touchdown pass of the night in the third quarter, when he found tight end Paul Sanchez for a 40-yard strike.  La Joya's D.J. Hubbard would rush in from 80-yards out and Cornist would connect with L.A. Massenburg to cut into Centennial's lead, but would get no closer as the Coyotes posted a 50-17 win.

 

BOTTOM LINE

 

Centennial jumped out to a big lead thanks to a balanced offense and a swarming defense; after Cornist set a single-game rushing record last weekend against Valley Vista, the Coyotes' first-team defense limited him to just one big run, and kept La Joya's offense out of sync.  If not for the blocked field goal and a late fumble deep in La Joya territory Centennial could have pushed the lead even farther.

GAME BALL

Even though he threw his first interception since the team's season opener McFarland balanced that out with his three long scoring strikes.  John Hughes rebounded from a more subdued game against Desert Vista as he rushed for over 100-yards and two scores.  


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