Central-Phenix City High School coach Woodrow Lowe grimaced. He scowled and paced the sidelines.
Somewhere, you got the feeling it's going to be a long week for the Red Devils following Friday night's sloppy 33-31 non-region victory against East Coweta at Garrett Harrison Stadium.
On a night in which three Red Devil rushers topped the century mark in rushing and Kenneth Thomas' 98 yards fell just shy, Central survived an ugly game but was sparked by Traveon Samuel's four rushing touchdowns.
"We got a win ... that is the most important thing" Lowe said. "It doesn't matter if it's 25 points, 30 points or one point, I'll take it."
Central (4-1) rolled up 596 yards of total offense and made the final stat sheet look impressive. However, Lowe stressed there is more work to do.
"Defensively, we've got to play better," he said. "We don't play well together. "
For the first three quarters, Central slopped its way to the tune of two turnovers, a missed extra point attempt and 11 penalties for 78 yards. That isn't the kind of performance Lowe hoped for as Central re-enters region play next week at Jeff Davis in Montgomery's Crampton Bowl.
But Samuel put on a show, doing just about everything Friday night. He rushed for 192 yards and finished with 104 yards receiving. But it wasn't until the Red Devils' defense batted away East Coweta's fourth down pass attempt with 1:11 left to seal the game.
The Red Devils trailed 14-13 at halftime, then fell behind 21-13 during a disastrous third quarter when they threw an interception and had six penalties for 36 yards. Lowe said his team lost his composure midway when they were whistled for an illegal procedure, then flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the same play, putting the team in an ackward position.
Lowe, however, chose to accentuate his team's positives.
"These guys are young and I'm glad they were able to overcome that," he said.
After East Coweta took a 31-27 lead with 4:22 left, Central marched 80 yards on five plays with Ryan Humphrey scoring on a 2-yard reverse handoff to take the lead for good.
Friday at Garrett Harrison Stadium
East Coweta 7 7 7 10--31
Central-PC 7 6 0 20--33
EC--Demarcus Godfrey 2 run (Michael Smith kick), 9:35
C--Traveon Samuel 4 run (Chandler Chancellor kick), 7:10
C--Samuel 38 run (kick failed), 2:22
EC--Weylin Orr 2 run (Smith kick), :47
EC--Godfrey 1 run (Smith kick), 5:19
C--Samuel 26 run (Kenneth Thomas run), 11:46
EC--Smith 25 field goal, 8:07
C--Samuel 65 run (kick failed), 6:37
EC--Godfrey 2 run (Smith kick), 4:22
C--Ryan Humphrey 2 run (kick blocked), 2:28
Records: East Coweta 1-3; Central 3-1. Next: Central at Jeff Davis, Friday, 8 p.m.