Valley Preps

‘Got to finish this thing’: Central wants to avoid complacency

Spotted at the Central versus R.E. Lee football game at Garrett-Harrison Stadium October 14, 2016
Spotted at the Central versus R.E. Lee football game at Garrett-Harrison Stadium October 14, 2016 photo@ledger-enquirer.com

Central clinched a third straight region title Friday night in impressive fashion putting up more than 700 yards of total offense in a 59-28 win over R.E. Lee.

Coach Jamey DuBose hit pause on the celebratory atmosphere when his players didn’t give their full attention to performing the school song with fans and students in attendance along the Red Devils’ sideline.

“That was disappointing and disrespectful,” DuBose said.

DuBose would eventually get around to praising his team’s effort en route to another regional title, but it wasn’t before laying out a tentative plan to have his team practice the school song this week.

“You take your helmet off, you stop talking and you pay attention,” DuBose said to his team.

The attention to detail from the third-year coach Friday night was fitting considering it’s part of the philosophy that’s laid the ground work for the most successful three-year run in Central history.

“It’s the process, I firmly believe that,” DuBose said of Central’s recent success. “Ask coaches at the next level, they will tell you everybody talks about the process. It’s something I really believe this place has adapted to and players have taken on.”

DuBose developed his process — one centered on repetition and routine — running the offense for Bill Clark at Prattville where Central’s coach won two state titles as an assistant and two more as the head coach.

The blueprint helped transform Central into a perennial contender, which already had a winning foundation in place.

“I came here and said Central is a premiere program in the state of Alabama,” DuBose said. “You’ve got support, you’ve got administration and you’ve got great players.”

The final hurdle for Central is winning the program’s first state title since 1993.

Last year, the Red Devils lost 26-21 in the state semifinals to McGill-Toolen in what DuBose described as his team’s worst football game of the season. The coach traced the loss to the way Central ended the regular season.

After closing out a regional title with a 43-14 win over Jeff Davis, the Red Devils lost its regular season finale to an Enterprise team that finished 5-6.

“We got a little complacent, little bit satisfied after we won the region,” DuBose said. “A great team knows how to finish the season and that’s what I want to do next week to see if we have turned the corner.”

DuBose hopes last year’s failure will fuel Central’s run to Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“In the playoffs if you play a bad football game and you go out, that’s it,” DuBose said. “You don’t get do-overs. It’s not golf. You don’t get mulligans. I hope our guys have understood that. We’ve got experience in the playoffs now, we’ve been deep in the playoffs, they understand the practice schedule and what it takes. I hope the success that last year’s team was able to give us will now make us understand how to get on to the championship game.”

Final Score: Central 59-28

Key Play (s)

Seven different players had at least one rushing attempt of 20 yards or more Friday night adding up to a winning effort for Central. The Red Devils had 12 explosive plays in all with three of them going for touchdowns. Central quarterback Zion Webb and running back Jaxton Carson led the way with three explosive plays each.

Difference Maker

Jaxton Carson, Central, running back — Central might have had success running the ball with anybody they put in the backfield, but Carson made the most of his night going for 213 yards and three touchdowns. R.E. Lee defenders couldn’t tackle the 5-foot-9, 204-pounder who has a real shot at 1,000 yards this season.

Individual stats

Central – Zion Webb, quarterback, 7 for 18, 132 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 13 carries, 183 yards, 1 TD; Jaxton Carson, running back, 18 carries, 213 yards, 3 TDs; Devin Pittman, wide receiver, 3 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD

Coach Quote

“We don’t want to sit here, celebrate and say the season is over here come the playoffs. We did the same thing last year and we didn’t finish well on the road at Enterprise. That’s in the back of our minds.” Central coach Jamey DuBos

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