Central's offense had time to find its footing Friday night thanks to a dominating performance by its defense in a 45-6 win over Harris County at Garrett-Harrison Stadium.
In last week's opener, the Red Devils lost junior starting quarterback Zion Webb to a season-ending injury in a 13-7 loss to Stockbridge.
Coach Jamey DuBose turned to fellow junior Justin Glenn in the first half, and standout receiver Quan Weaver in the second. Freshman D.J. Rias saw some mop-up duty.
Glenn showed off his athleticism right off the gate proving an elusive target for Harris County's front seven. He had two first down runs, 14- and 16-yards, on called draws.
The junior seemed to get more comfortable in the pocket as the game went on. He connected with Justyn Ross in the corner of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown with 3:38 to go in the first half to give Central an 18-0 lead.
Weaver had the flashier of the performances thanks to a 49-yard touchdown run on a read-option play in the third quarter, and a screen pass to Christian Allen that went 60 yards for a touchdown.
“We have got to find our identity right now offensively, when you lose your quarterback you have to kind of restart the whole season again,” DuBose said. “You have to find out what the guys you have are good at, and what they can do.”
The Red Devils scored on all four of its third-quarter possessions to extend its lead to 45-6, but they didn't even need the offensive fireworks with the way their defense played.
“We expect our defense to take control of games, and you win games defensively, that’s just how it is,” DuBose said.
Harris County only managed three first downs in the first half, and turned the ball over twice. It fumbled inside its own 20-yard line on its first drive to set up Central's first touchdown.
The Tigers switched quarterbacks from James Adams to Chandler Lott at the end of the first half, and flip-flopped back to Adams in the fourth quarter.
Running back Bubba Blackmon was the lone bright spot for Harris County's offense, showing flashes of his game breaking speed. He doubled his team's first half offensive production with a 58-yard run on the first play of the third quarter.
Teammate Maurice Fears scored two plays later on a 23-yard touchdown run to make it 18-6.
Blackmon had five runs of 10 yards or more, and accounted for all three of his team's first downs before halftime.
“We just had that second half let, we came out of the locker room flat and they hit us with a couple of counters to get big plays,” DuBose said. “Other than that, I thought we had control all night.”
The offensive highlights ended there for Harris County. It turned the ball over two more times -- defensive back Demetrius Petteway picked off Lott in the third quarter, and Jalen Johnson recovering a fumble -- and had its final two drives end with turnover on downs.
Friday at Garrett-Harrison Stadium
Harris Co. 0 0 6 0 --6
Central 6 12 27 0--45
C--Ravaughn Turner 1 run (kick failed), 6:42
C--Turner 2 run (kick failed), 6:08
C--Justyn Ross 27 pass from Justin Glenn (two-point conversion failed), 3:38
HC - Maurice Fears 23 run (kick failed), 10:52
C--Quan Weaver 49 run (kick good), 10:30
C--Christian Allen 60 pass from Weaver (kick good), 6:39
C--Devonte Miles 10 run (kick failed), 2:00
Records: Harris County 0-1. Central, 1-1. Next: Harris County, home vs. Westside-Macon, Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m. Central, at Auburn, Sept. 4, 8 p.m.