Central Outlasts Denham in Overtime Thriller

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By Josh Walker

            It looked like a quarterfinal playoff game as both teams put everything they had into the game Friday night, but it was the Central Wildcats who ended up winning 31-28. The Wildcats opened their second possession on their own one-yard line. After a Courville run got the ball out to the four, Zack Evans broke a 66-yard run to put the Wildcats on the Yellow Jackets’ 30-yard line. Two plays later, Gary Triplet ran the ball in from 33 yards out to give Central a 7-0 lead. After a defensive stop, Triplet returned the punt 80 yards to put the Wildcats up 14-0 midway through the first quarter. After that, Denham scored 21 unanswered points to take the lead with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. Central then mounted a 14 play, 72-yard drive capped off by a two yard Evans touchdown run. Martin Sandvik then kicked a pop-up kick off that was fumbled by the Jackets and recovered by Jesus Acosta to put the Wildcats in great field position. Two plays later, Central regained the lead on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Brett Courville to Devon Gales. Denham tied the game with less than five minutes left in the game, and threatened to score as time expired, but the Wildcat defense knocked down the hail mary pass to force overtime.

            Denham decided to play defense to start out and forced Central into a quick three and out. Then came decision time: the Wildcats could go for the touchdown on fourth and six or could let sophomore kicker Jonathan Thibodeaux kick his first field goal of the season. Coach Dotson went with the latter, and Thibodeaux did kick a 23-yard field goal to put Central on top 31-28. Denham ran the ball down to the Central two-yard line on first and goal but were flagged for an illegal shift to set up a second and goal at the seven yard line. After an incomplete pass, the Jackets ran the ball down to the two-yard line. Coach Nettles was faced with the same situation as Coach Dotson, but he decided to go for the win. Denham ran up the middle as they had all night long, but this time, Logan Metcalfe was there to stuff the runner at the one-yard line and send the Wildcats home victorious.

            Central put up 236 yards of offense (159 rushing, 77 passing). Evans led the Wildcats in rushing with 75 yards and a touchdown. Triplet had 48 rushing yards with a touchdown and 54 receiving yards. Courville was 6-13 passing for 77 yards and a touchdown and had 36 rushing yards. The Wildcat defense played well and was led in tackles by Zack Hetrick with 7. Paul Broussard had 6, and Joey Jarreau had 5. Logan Metcalfe had 4 tackles and an interception, and Jesus Acosta recovered a fumble.

            After the game, Coach Dotson said, “I’m proud of my guys. They left it all out on the field. We made believers out of quite a few people tonight. If we continue to play like this, we’ll develop into the team we want to be.” When asked about his game-winning field goal, Thibodeaux said, “ I was extremely nervous, but I was confident that I could make the kick. It was an amazing feeling knowing that I helped win the game for my Central team.” The Wildcats need to win two more games in order to make the playoffs, but it’s games like this that gives a team the push they need to make a run.

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