The Central Park Hills Varsity Football team continues to roll. Picking up where they left off last season, the Rebels are cruising, and are off to a hot start, easily winning their first two games. This past Friday, September 2nd, the squad rolled into Caruthersville and rolled over their foes, coming away with a dominant 58-21 victory.
The second win of the season for Central came at the expense of the Caruthersville Tigers, a newcomer to the schedule, but a big game nonetheless. After a quick fumble on the first play of the game, the Rebels got it together and forced a punt. The Caruthersville punt turned into the first score of the game for Central as Jobe Bryant returned the kick 70 yards for a touchdown. Mason Williams kicked the extra point and just like that it was 7-0 with 9:15 left on the clock in the first quarter.
Caruthersville didn’t do much with their next opportunity and gave the ball back quickly. On the next Central possession, the Rebel quarterback Casen Murphy made up for his first play fumble and rushed the ball 22 yards in for a touchdown making it a 14-0 Central lead with 4:38 remaining in the first.
Then there was more quick scoring for Central on the ensuing kickoff. John Johnson made a great tackle, and Ty Schweiss forced a fumble allowing Hakin Wagner to scoop and score from 64 yards out. With 4:14 still on the clock, it was going to be a long night for Caruthersville who found themselves now down 21-0.
However, the Tigers were able to get on the board and make it 21-7 on an impressive 68-yard touchdown run down the right sideline late in the first quarter.
That score only seemed to irritate Central, who answered back right away. Murphy aired it out and hit Kannon Harlow for a 13-yard touchdown reception with 2:49 to go in the first. Now leading 28-7, the first quarter went about as well as it could for the Rebels.
Opening the second quarter, the Tigers managed a 12-yard touchdown pass at 9:56. The Caruthersville extra point was blocked by Nathan Weinhold so the score moved to 28-13.
Then the defensive pressure from Central cracked Caruthersville. After pinning the Tigers inside their own five-yard line, Harlow came up with a big stop. He forced a two-point safety with a quarterback sack in the endzone to make it a 30-13 game after one half of play.
Caruthersville received to start the second half, but it didn’t take long for them to cough up the ball. Murphy picked off their first play pass attempt and returned it down to the five-yard line. On the next play, Bryant took it to the house to put the Rebels ahead 36-13. Due to the Central kicker, Williams, suffering a first-half injury, the Rebels went for two points but failed to convert.
It seemed like the Tigers couldn’t get out of their own way. On their next possession, they threw an errant backward pass that Barrett Henson gobbled up and scored on from 14 yards out. Murphy connected with Kendall Horton on the two-point conversion to stretch the score to 44-13 just 90 seconds into quarter three.
It didn’t take long for Central to get the ball back. Midway through the third, Murphy found Bryant from 46 yards out to tag on another touchdown. Jailen Welch added the two-point run leading to a 52-13 advantage which implemented the running clock.
With 8:00 remaining in the game, Gavin Lotz added an impressive 22-yard touchdown run. Lotz, who had never played running back and who was named captain for this game, ended up leading all rushers with four carries for 63 yards and a touchdown that made the score 58-13.
Caruthersville added a late touchdown and two-point conversion against the reserve players, which led to the final score of 58-21.
The most valuable player on this night had to be Murphy. He was 12-20 for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns, and he also rushed five times for 47 yards and a touchdown. He also had an interception on defense that he nearly returned for a touchdown, plus he also nabbed a fumble.
After Murphy, Bryant was the next most impressive player. He had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown, a rushing touchdown and a 46-yard receiving touchdown. He also caught an interception, plus made seven catches for 130 yards, not to mention his three carries for 11 more yards.
Defensively, the Rebels had some outstanding stats. The defense forced six turnovers, two were returned for touchdowns, and they blocked an extra point. Henson and Wagner both had defensive touchdowns on their fumble recoveries. Murphy had one of each with an interception and a fumble recovery. Bryant had an interception and a punt return for a touchdown, while Triston Stewart also added a fumble recovery.
Leading the team from the defensive side, T. Schweiss was all over the field with an impressive 14 tackles, several of which were for big losses. He also forced two of the fumbles.
Still seeing the work that needs to be done, Head Coach Kory Schweiss commented, “Overall, it was just an ok performance for us. In the phases of the game where we need to be really good, we struggled. We had too many penalties and turnovers, but we also were the beneficiaries of their lack of discipline and their turnovers.”
Now strutting their stuff at 2-0, the Rebels will gear up for next week as they will play host to the Potosi Trojans who are sitting at 1-1 and are coming off a blowout 50-18 loss against Farmington, a team that Central will play in the last game of the regular season. Central matches up well against Potosi and with the Rebels’ current momentum, it could make for a long night for the Trojans.