by Scott Samuels
Although the Eagles ground game exploded for close to 500 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns on the night, it was the defense that set the tone early.
Northeast held the Cougars to 3 downs on their first possession, and on the ensuing punt, Northeast return man, Eric Webster, fumbled the punt and Centennial recovered at the Northeast 15 yard line.
The Northeast defense dug in and Centennial had to settle for a 33yard field goal attempt that missed wide right.
The Eagle’s first possession of the night they put together an 83 yard touchdown drive capped off by quarterback Montrell Pardue’s 7 yard TD run up the middle with 6:24 left on the clock in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. After holding Centennial to three and out, Northeast received the ball.The Eagle’s second possession ended before it could get started as they fumbled the first down snap and Centennial recovered it on the Northeast 20 yard line.
Three plays after the Cougars had a touchdown run called back, but on the next play, their 6’0 210 pound, bruising running back, Deon Sanders bowled over the goal line from 1 yard out to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:58 left in the first quarter and the game was tied at 7 apiece.
The Eagles couldn’t get anything going on their next two possessions.
Centennial moved the ball deep into Northeast territory late in the 2nd quarter until a pass over the middle by Centennial’s quarterback, Billy Lowe, was picked off by Northeast middle linebacker Matt Briggs and Briggs returned it for 75 yards to give Northeast the lead 14-7.
Centennial came right back with a 60 yard kickoff return to the Northeast 34 yard line, and two plays later, Sanders scored for the Cougars, and the score was tied 14-14.
Northeast retaliated with a drive of their own, capped off by Dontavious Fort-Merriweather scoring from 20 yards, and the extra point gave Northeast the lead 21-14.
With 25.6 seconds left in the half, Northeast’s Fabian Ross intercepted a Billy Lowe pass and raced 80 yards for a touchdown, but a penalty before the interception cancelled the score and the momentum. Centennial ended the possession by kicking a field goal and the half-time score was 21-17 in favor of the Eagles.
Northeast took the opening kickoff of the second half and scored on a 4 yard td run by Tre Edwards.
Centennial answered with an 18 yard td run by Sanders, his 3rd score of the game.
After trading punts, the Eagle’s Marquez McCalpin took a hand-off and sprinted 66 yards for a touchdown that put the Eagles up 35-24.
On the very next Northeast possession, after a Centennial punt pinned the Eagles back to their 3 yard line, McCalpin sprinted for a seventy year run, but was tackled at the Centennial one yard line, where he fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Centennial in the end-zone for a touch-back.
Northeast’s defense held and when the Eagles got the ball back they didn’t waste any time as Fort-Merriweather took the ball for a 65 yard scamper and Pardue capped it off on a four yard run from scrimmage and Northeast had a comfortable 42-24 lead.
Centennial would score again with 2:12 left in the game for a final score of 42-31.
Northeast returns to action next Friday night when they host Franklin.