Central holds Thundering Herd at bay
Sat. September 08, 2012 at 12:27 a.m. | By Morgan Upton
Central quarterback Vincent Davis goes airborne as he is tackled by Parker’s Cornell Marshall during the second quarter. (Photo by Kelly Lambert)
TUSCALOOSA | The Central Falcons were able to hold off a late comeback by Parker on Friday night to defeat the Thundering Herd 17-15 and move to 2-0 on the season. The game also gave the Falcons a 1-0 start in Class 5A, Region 5 play.
Central headed into the fourth quarter leading 17-7. The Falcons’ defense stifled Parker throughout the game, but big plays in the final drive threatened Central’s lead. With 1:24 left, the Herd took the field at its own 20-yard line, and quarterback Juston McCants went 4-for-7 in the drive, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to Omari Williams to make it 17-13. Parker completed the two-point conversion to cut the lead to two points with 2/10ths of a second left on the clock.
Central took a knee on the ensuing kickoff to finish the game. Falcons coach Dennis Conner said he told his team at halftime to finish the game.
“We heard an inspirational speech about effort,” Conner said. “I said, ‘Lets continue to give good effort and close it.’”
Central’s junior quarterback, Vincent Davis, threw for 58 yards and rushed for 50 yards, including a 1-yard score in the second quarter, but he credited the guys on the other side of the ball.
“Once again, I give all the credit to my defense,” he said. “They played one great, great game. It means one step closer. One step closer to the playoffs.”
Jemah Guyton scored in the third quarter with a 9-yard run and finished with 109 yards on 12 carries. Gregory Davis also had 45 rushing yards. Kalias Robertson had one catch for 24 yards, and Robert Bates had two catches for 31 yards.
Central’s I-formation offense chipped away at the Herd. The Falcons handled the clock and the field with short-yardage gains and totaled 259 yards on offense compared to the Herd’s 211, with 142 of Parker’s yards coming in the second half.
Conner said the Falcons’ long drives on offense made the difference on defense.
“We’re learning to chip away at things and shorten the game,” Conner said. “When we can get those first downs like that, that gives the defense time to rest.”
David Robinson put the Falcons on the board with a 30-yard field goal. He also went 2-for-2 on extra points. Robinson’s three kicks ended up being the difference.
“It feels good to know I can kick the ball that far,” Robinson said.
The Falcons came out of halftime by recovering an onsides kick. Conner credited film study to the play.
“We saw that every time they received the kick they were 15 yards away from the ball,” he said. “We did the little bulldog kick just to show people we can do it. We said if they stay 15 yards off the ball when we get it in the first half, we’re going to do an onside kick.”
Central travels to McAdory next Friday.