High school football weekly wrap: Central, Carver regain momentum with rebound wins

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerSeptember 22, 2012 

Earlier this week, I wrote a column about momentum.

I wrote about the importance of maintaining momentum after a good one, as well as putting on the breaks after a bad loss to keep momentum from going the other direction.

Both Central and Carver were able to do the latter in their games on Friday.

After falling 37-7 to Opelika a week ago, the Red Devils came out somewhat flat against Robert E. Lee on Friday. Lee scored on an eight-play, 77-yard drive to open the game, and Central coach Woodrow Lowe admitted that visions of last weeks loss crept into his mind.

But there was no need to worry, as Central put on an offensive show for the rest of the game, tying the score in just 34 seconds and racing out to a 54-28 win.

Carver was in a similar situation, though its loss last week came out of region against a Class 6A school (Colquitt County). Playing against another 6A school, Tri-Cities, this week, the Tigers were able to erase the 33-0 drubbing from last week and put together a 32-20 win.

Again, I can’t stress how important these wins are.

Yes, they’re important simply because it’s another number in the win column, and coaches will tell you next Friday’s games are now much more important than those wins.

But the importance of reversing momentum in a positive direction can’t be understated.

Carver has a big win under its belt going into region play, and Central can forget its less-than-stellar performance against Opelika and go to work making up for it in the region.

The Red Devils get a week off from region play coming up, as they host East Coweta (Ga.) on Friday before traveling to Jeff Davis on Oct. 5 and hosting Auburn in a big region showdown on Oct. 12. Carver gets its region schedule started against Pike County on Friday at home.

Spencer picks up first win

Spencer High picked up its first win of the season, notching coach Calvin Arnold the first of his career as a head coach, with a 46-14 victory against Jordan.

The Greenwave scored on their first seven drives of the game, erupting for 38 first-half points. Damarkus Robins led the way for Spencer, running for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

It’s just one win for Spencer, which Arnold says needs to remain “humble,” but it’s also a big win. You can’t underestimate how much it means to break through for the first win.

It allows players to understand what winning feels like and know what it takes to achieve it. We’ll see what the win does for Spencer, which plays Temple next. Temple lost 34-0 to Kendrick on Thursday. The win was the first of the season for Kendrick as well.

Jordan, which remains winless, will have its next shot at getting the monkey off its back against Bremen on Friday. Jordan has lost 18 consecutive games dating back to 2010, but nearly broke through against Temple last Friday.

Quick hits

Tip of the cap to Preston Reynolds and J.J. Dancy who shouldered an enormous load for Smiths Station in the second half of its 28-19 win over Jeff Davis on Friday. The two running backs traded carries on nearly every play of the final two quarters, gaining consistent chunks of yardage, running out the clock and allowing the Panthers to hang on for a win. It was the first varsity start for Reynolds….Brookstone coach Brad Dehem and his team suffered a heartbreaker at the hands of Dehem’s former team, Wesleyan, on Friday. Wesleyan kicked a last-play field goal to win 17-14 over the Cougars, who were looking for a signature win to announce their presence as contenders at the state level. While the loss is probably frustrating, there’s no shame in losing in that fashion to Wesleyan, a perennial power in Class A. Brookstone’s defense can hang tough with the best, and its offense will likely come around as it becomes more familiar with its new system.

Making the grade

Some notable performances from teams and individuals this week.

--J.J. Dancy rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns and Preston Reynolds went for 134 yards and one score to help Smiths Station to a 28-19 win over Jeff Davis.

--Brandon Thomas rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown to help Carver rebound for a 32-20 win at Tri-Cities. Quarterback Torrance McGee also had his hand, or feet, in on three scores. He rushed for two and passed for another.

--Central’s Jamal Howard was 8 of 10 passing for 218 yards and a touchdown, and added 34 yards and a score on the ground to help his team to a 54-28 win over Robert E. Lee. Traveon Samuel had five catches for 137 yards and two scores in the game, as well.

Think someone else belongs on this exclusive list? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @leprepsports.

Power rankings

Here's a look at the area's power rankings. I'll list my top 5 each week. Spirited, but civil, debate is encouraged in the comments.

1. Central

No change here. Central proved resilient this week after falling to Opelika 37-7 last week. The Red Devils came back for a blowout win and hang on to the top spot in the rankings.

2. Carver

Carver did the same, picking up a win over a Class 6A opponent after falling on the road a week ago. The Tigers appear to be in good shape heading into region play.

3. Shaw

Shaw was idle this week, but hangs on to the No. 3 slot. The Raiders open region play at LaGrange on Friday.

4. Brookstone

A last-play, 49-yard field goal against a top-tier opponent on the road isn’t enough to make me drop Brookstone from No. 4. We’ll see how it responds to this heartbreaker next week.

5. Pacelli

Who would have thought that we’d see this team creeping into the top 5 early in the season after it struggled to just a single win a year ago? The Vikings are 3-0, and while they haven’t played an extremely difficult schedule, wins are wins. As coach Randy Grace told me earlier this week, Pacelli used to be the “easy game” other teams were scheduling. At 3-0, however, the Vikings are looking to take the next step in region play.

--Follow me for scores, news and opinions on Twitter @leprepsports

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