Centennial v. Kofa

Behind 96 rushing yards from John Hughes and a pair of touchdown passes from Dain McFarland to Justin Callahan, the top-ranked Centennial Coyotes routed Yuma's Kofa Kings 48-6 in Friday's first round of the Class 5A, Division 2 playoffs.

With a 22-game winning streak coming into the game, the Coyotes relied heavily on the recipe that had guided them through their previous ten victories this season, as senior running back Hughes provided explosive big plays and junior quarterback McFarland was steady and mistake-free.  The 5-5 Kings, champions of the Gila Valley Region and winners of three consecutive games, struggled keeping their offense on the field and Centennial's off; the Coyotes did not punt until late in the fourth quarter.

After advancing the opening kickoff to their own 46-yard line, Centennial saw Hughes break a 33-yard run to the Kofa 21 on third-and-one.  The McFarland and Callahan Connection would finish the drive from there, scoring on a 21-yard strike to the end zone.  Senior Ryan Shaugher would boot through the extra point, and Centennial was off to a quick 7-0 lead. 


Kofa would try to answer on their ensuing drive, but junior two-way back Anthony Hughes would pick off Kings' running back Timmy Lee and return it to the Kofa 27.  On second down, McFarland and Callahan would hookup again for a score.  Still early in the first quarter Centennial had a 14-0 lead.


While John Hughes had kept the Coyotes' opening drive alive he was every bit as effective snuffing out the Kings' attempts to answer, sacking the Kofa quarterback for an eight-yard loss on third-and-three.  Kofa's punt would be downed on the Centennial 45, once again giving the Coyotes prime field. 


McFarland would take immediate advantage of this, hitting junior back Anthony Hughes for a 17-yard pickup.  Two plays later John Hughes would record his second 33-yard run of the night, putting Centennial on the Kofa two-yard line.  After being kept out of the end zone on first down John Hughes would scamper in, and Shaugher's extra point pushed the lead to 21-0.


After forcing Kofa to punt for the second time that night, a false start penalty would find Centennial in a second-and-15 situation on their own 33.  It would not matter, as McFarland would scramble 27-yards for the first down before hitting Anthony Hughes in the flat.  Hughes would rumble 30-yards down to the Kofa 1, and would finish the drive off with a one-yard touchdown run.  Centennial would finish the first quarter with a commanding 28-0 lead. 


On Centennial's first offensive series of the second quarter McFarland would narrowly escape being sacked on first down, connecting with classmate Matt Baugh for an eight-yard gain on a difficult catch.  McFarland would get the first down and then some on the next play, running 16-yards to the Kofa 19.  Another dead ball foul would find the Coyotes with a first-and-fifteen on the Kings' 24, where John Hughes scored his second touchdown of the game for the 35-0 lead.  John Hughes would score from four-yards out later in the half, and Centennial would head into the locker rooms up 41-0.

With a running clock instituted in the third quarter Centennial would still experience success running the ball, with sophomore Jebron Harrington scoring his fourth touchdown of the year to push the Coyote lead to 48. 


Late in the fourth quarter the last bit of suspense began to play out, as Kofa would march from their own four-yard line to cross midfield for the only time in the evening.  Looking to record their fifth consecutive shut-out the Centennial defense appeared to hold as Kofa quarterback Kane Nelson would see his pass for the end zone sail through the back of the end zone.  An officials flag would fly on the field soon after, and a pass interference call on Centennial gave the Kings a fresh set of downs inside the Coyote 20.  Centennial's defense was on the verge of holding again when Nelson would find senior receiver David Calvillo on fourth down in the end zone with 24 seconds left.  Centennial would recover the ensuing squib kick and would take a knee to end the game.


Centennial performed as would be expected in a first round playoff matchup, attacking Kofa from the opening whistle on offense while their defense stonewalled any efforts to move the ball.  By building a big early lead the Coyotes doused any spark Kofa might have been able to muster for a colossal upset.


The Hughes brothers had their typical outings, with each recording a big defensive play while also continuing to be vital parts of the Coyote offense.  Anthony saw his role in the team's passing game expand, recording his first two receptions on the season. 



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