Moving on

By Kyle Yehle PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: October 28, 2017 - 12:47 AM

When the Center defense needed a key stop, it morphed into a timely impassable wall.

The No. 8 Yellowjackets denied Odessa a pair of paramount two-point conversions and held back second-half Bulldog drives inside the Center 25 twice to advance 28-25 to the Class 3 District 7 championship game Nov. 3.

Holding a 28-19 lead at the game's intermission, Center turned the ball over on downs out of the break after a long drive to the Odessa 18. The Bulldogs answered with a lengthy march of their own to the Center five-yard line.

While Odessa desperately needed points to pull within one score, the Yellowjackets swatted two passes out of the air from sophomore Bulldog quarterback Josey Meierarend, the last on fourth-and-goal, to force the drive's end.

"I'm just proud of our defense," Center head coach Bryan DeLong said. "Getting the two batted passes when they're on the 5, in a three-point game, those stands were huge."

Odessa's next drive resulted in a similar outcome - a six-play journey to the Center 23, and two incomplete passes to give the ball back.

The Bulldogs scored for the last time with 5:46 left to pull within a field goal, but Center ran out the clock with three first downs to preserve the final score and win.

"Coach was out there telling us to protect the ball," Center quarterback Amaun Ryan said. "Their defense was getting very tired because of the long drive. We were just pushing through."

Odessa concludes their season at 6-5 after starting out 4-0.

"It was a game of missed opportunities," Bulldog head coach Mark Thomas said. "Hats off to Center. We only lose six seniors, so most of these kids will be back."

Center moves on to play Pleasant Hill, which upset undefeated Hogan Prep 36-18 Friday.