Central didn’t waste any time clinching a third straight region title Friday night at Garrett Harrison Stadium.
The Red Devils (7-1; 5-0 Region 2-7A) scored three plays into the game against R.E. Lee on its way to a 17-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Central’s 59-28 win gave the program a third straight region title for the first time in school history.
“We want to get back to work Monday, but we are going to celebrate this weekend and enjoy this one,” Central coach Jamey DuBose said. “Our guys worked hard tonight.”
The only bump on the road for the Red Devils came early in the third quarter when a wild exchange of turnovers sparked momentary comeback hopes for a R.E. Lee team trailing 24-7.
The Generals fumbled the opening kickoff to give Central the ball at the 35-yard line, but Central quarterback Zion Webb threw an interception right into the hands of linebacker Brian Mclean on first down.
A small head start helped McLean beat out wide receiver Justyn Ross in a foot race to the end zone to make it 24-14.
DuBose was upset with what looked like an illegal substitution on the play as McLean appeared to jump into the field of play right before the snap.
“That’s probably the most freakish play I’ve probably ever been involved in my life,” DuBose said.
Officials conferred at the goal line, but ultimately upheld the touchdown.
“We aren’t going to get into that,” DuBose said when asked about the decision. “That’s just a crazy play. I don’t even know how to comment on that one.”
R.E. Lee’s (6-2; 3-2) momentum from the unlikely score didn’t last long. Central went 86-yards on the ensuing drive in three plays. Jaxton Carson broke through the line of scrimmage for a 55-yard run to get the Red Devils down inside the 20-yard line where Webb hit Devin Pittman for a 14-yard touchdown.
The rest of the game followed a similar pattern with Central’s offense striking quickly in response to R.E. Lee’s comeback attempts.
Carson scored three touchdowns running it in from 15-, 4- and 1-yards out. The Red Devils’ leading rusher finished the game with 213 yards on 11.8 yards per carry. Webb also had a big night on the ground with more than 175 yards and a touchdown.
“We did feel like offensively we had them,” DuBose said. “We felt like we knew where they were at. We felt real good coming into this game offensively.”
Central had more than 425 rushing yards by the end of the third quarter.
“We probably could have run for more,” DuBose said.
A lopsided first quarter proved to be a sign of things to come for the Red Devils’ offense.
DJ Rias’ 65-yard return on the opening kickoff gave the offense a short field. A holding penalty on first down couldn’t even slow the Red Devils down. Wide receiver Christian Allen took a rare carry out of the backfield 29-yards for the touchdown two players later.
Central got points on all three of its first quarter drives with Alvin Renteria connecting on a 40-yard field goal and Carson scoring his first touchdown at the end of the quarter.
R.E. Lee’s lone offensive highlight of the first half was a 59-yard touchdown pass from Dejuan Patterson to Henry Ruggs. Ruggs did most of the work catching the quick slant five yards from the line of scrimmage and weaving his way through Central’s secondary to the end zone.
Ruggs had a big night for Lee with more than 250 yards of total offense and three touchdowns.
The Generals threatened again on its ensuing drive, but N’Travious Floyd picked off Patterson’s pass in the red zone.
Central’s offense reversed the field almost immediately thanks to four straight carries for 58 yards from Carson. Amonte Spivey’s 28-yard touchdown made it 24-7 with 2:43 to go in the first half.
Friday at Garrett-Harrison Stadium
C – Christian Allen 29 run (Alvin Rentaria kick), 10:53
C – Renteria 40 kick, 6:42
C – Jaxton Carson 15 run (Rentaria kick), 1:20
L – Henry Ruggs 59 pass from Dejuan Patterson (Jarod Grandalski kick), 9:29
C – Amonte Spivey 28 run (Rentaria kick), 2:43
L – Brain Mclean 65 interception (Grandalski kick), 11:43
C – Devin Pittman 14 pass from Webb (Rentaria kick), 10:52
C – Carson 4 run (Rentaria kick), 5:41
L – Ruggs 69 run (Grandalski kick), 5:28
C – Carson 1 run (Rentaria kick), 4:06
C – KJ Brooks 44 run (Rentaria kick), 1:44
L – Ruggs 75 pass from Patterson (Grandalski kick), 11:46
C – Webb 65 run (Rentaria kick), 11:28