MACON, Ga. -- Central's football team soaked in every moment of the celebration following the Chargers' 14-2 victory Friday over Kendrick.
For the school, the celebration was six years in the making. The win gave Central its first playoff berth since 2008.
For Kendrick, it ended hopes of making the state playoffs for a third straight season. It also prevented the Cherokees from having a winning season as they finished at 5-5.
For coach Jesse Hicks, the celebration was a milestone in a rebuilding project he took on three years ago following stints at Baldwin and Dougherty.
Central (5-5, 4-4 Region 2-AAA) scored two touchdowns early before turning the game over to its defense, which stood firm on a couple of deep Kendrick drives.
Chargers quarterback Derrick Evans completed just 8-of-20 passes for 93 yards. But his two scoring passes -- a 4-yarder to Tevio Smith in the first quarter and a 15-yarder to Bobby Cummings in the second --
were exclamation points to drives fueled by the ground game.
Antonio Sanders Jr. racked up 152 yards on 25 carries, with 130 of those yards coming in the first half. His 48-yard scamper in the first quarter set up the scoring pass to Smith, and he had four carries for 23 yards in the drive that led to the touchdown pass to Cummings.
Kendrick (5-5, 3-5) had two drives deep into Central territory but came away empty both times as its playoff bid fizzled.
The Cherokees drove it to Central's 3 late in the second quarter, only to get stuffed on a fourth-down quarterback sneak. In the third, Kendrick drove to the Central 18 before turning it over on a fourth-down halfback pass that was intercepted near the goal line.
Kendrick had a 16-play drive that took up the first six minutes of the final quarter, but Central forced the Cherokees to punt from the Chargers' 35.
The Cherokees' lone points came in the final minute of the second quarter on a Central punt that was blocked in the end zone. A Central player fell on the ball to concede a safety.
Friday at Macon
Kendrick 0 2 0 0-- 2
Central 7 7 0 0--14
C -- Tevio Smith 4 pass from Derrick Evans (Temia Flint kick)
C -- Bobby Cummings 15 pass from Evans (Flint kick)
K -- Safety, punt blocked in end zone
Records: Kendrick 5-5, 3-5 Region 2-AAA. Central-Macon 5-5, 4-4. Next: Kendrick, season over.