A game that, on paper, was to be a cake walk for Central on Friday turned out to be anything but as Sidney Lanier put up 32 first-half points. The Red Devils responded in the second half to hold the visitors scoreless and record a 48-32 win.
The Poets took the opening possession of the game and covered the 56 yards in nine plays for the game's first score. Ger'Kerry Jackson picked up the final seven yards for the touchdown. The run for two failed and Lanier led 6-0 with less than three minutes gone in the contest.
Central answered quickly, taking its first possession 83 yards in 11 plays. Quarterback Jamal Howard ran 1 yard for the score. Chandler Chancellor's kick was wide and the score was tied 6-6 with 5:50 left in the first period.
The Red Devils got on the board
again just nine seconds later. A fumbled snap was picked up by Central's Shaqunn Johnson and he rambled 15 yards for the score. Chancellor's kick made it 13-6 with 5:41 left in the period. That would be all the scoring in the opening quarter.
What was to follow was a flurry of activity that saw a combined 33 points by the two teams, with the visitors scoring 26 of those.
Lanier, after a LaDarius Perkins interception and 26-yard return, rattled off a quick 34-yard drive for a score. Laquann Ringstaff found Patrick Reed in the right flat and the speedy receiver completed a 31-yard scoring play. The run for two failed, making it 13-12 with 7:29 left in the half.
The Poets were quickly back in business after Traveon Samuel's fumble at the end of a 19-yard run. Norman recovered the fumble and, three plays later, Ringstaff hooked up with Reed again for a 59-yard score. The pass for two was again no good, making it 18-13 with 5:53 left.
Central responded with a nice 70-yard drive to re-take the lead. Howard found Khaled Berklin for the final 7 yards. The Chancellor kick made it 20-18 with 2:08 left.
After Central could get nothing going, Cammeron Herring's punt was blocked and the Poets took over at the Red Devil 15 with 33 seconds left. The Poets took just one play to add to their lead. Ringstaff found Buyck on an almost indentical fade patter to the two-point play for the touchdown. The run failed, making it 32-20 going into halftime.
The second half belonged to Central.
The Devils took the opening possession and marched 57 yards all on the ground for a score. Deon Hall, who carried for 35 yards on the drive, covered the final yard for the touchdown. Chancellor's kick made it 32-27 with 8:36 to go in the third.
Hall finished with 273 on 24 carries.
After forcing a punt, Central mounted a drive to take the lead. Hall broke free for a 48-yard scoring jaunt at the 5:11 mark. Chancellor's kick made it 34-20 with 5:11 left in the period.
The defense held Lanier on downs on the ensuing possession and took over at the Poets' 48. The Devils marched to the Lanier 5, but Howard's fourth-down pass was tipped and intercepted by Norman in the endzone to kill the drive.
One play later, things swung back in Central's favor. Another bad snap led to yet another Shaqunna Johnson touchdown return, this one from 17 yards out. Chancellor's kick made it 41-20 with 11:13 left in the game.
Central would add one more score with 4:19 to play. Traveon Samuel took a reverse and covered eight yards to cap a 53-yard drive. The kick by Chancellor made it 48-32.
Central will take on Smiths Station next Friday with a playoff berth on the line. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. at Smiths Station.
Friday at Garrett-Harrison
Sidney Lanier 6 26 0 0--32
Central 13 7 14 14--48
SL- Ger'Kerry Jackson 7-yd. run (run failed), 9:14
C- Jamal Howard 1-yd. run (kick failed), 5:50
C - Shaqunna Johnson 15-yd fumble return (Chandler Chancellor kick), 5:41
SL- Patrick Reed 31-yd. pass from Laquann Ringstaff (run failed), 7:29
SL - Antonio Williams 59-yd. pass from Ringstaff (pass failed), 5:53
C - Khaled Berklin 7-yd. pass from Howard (Chancellor kick), 2:25
SL - Demonte Shephard 98-yd. kickoff return (pass good), 2:08
SL- Tristian Buyck 15-yd. pass from Ringstaff (run failed), 0:33
C - Deon Hall 1-yd. run (Chancellor kick), 8:36
C - Hall 48-yd. run (Chancellor kick), 5:11
C - Johnson 17-yd. fumble return (Chancellor kick), 11:21
C - Traveon Samuel 8 yd. run (Chancellor kick), 4:19
Records: Sidney Lanier 2-6, 1-5 Class 6A Region 3. Central 6-2, 4-2. Next Game: Central at Smiths Station, Oct. 26; Lanier vs. Carver, Oct. 25