Central had the game put away leading 34-0 in the third quarter over Fairfield Friday night.
Coach Jamey DuBose turned to his reserves after quarterback Zion Webb scored his third touchdown of the game to open the second half.
When Fairfield threatened the Red Devils’ shutout late in the fourth quarter, DuBose called a mulligan. He sent the first team defense back out on the field to secure the program’s second shutout since he took over the program in 2014.
“It was a goal for us,” Central defensive back Demetrius Pettway said. “We had the mindset we were going to do it.”
DuBose liked the defense’s steady intensity in the win, but knew his players would take it up a notch when Fairfield made it down to the 12-yard line.
“We flew to the ball,” DuBose said.
The coach was particularly impressed with the way his team’s secondary played. MJ Woods and Karon Delince both broke up passes at the goal line with Fairfield threatening to score.
Pettway had an interception and sophomore Damon Jones picked off two passes. The sophomore didn’t start last week’s season-opener against Hoover but has earned a spot on the first team.
“Unbelievable,” DuBose said of Jones two-game stretch.
While Central’s secondary kept Fairfield’s receivers on lockdown, the defensive line harassed quarterback Demetrius Buford all night long.
Junior defensive lineman Tyler Moore helped flush Buford from the pocket time and time again to set up one of his teammates for a tackle behind the line of scrimmage. Buford was sacked three times in the first half by Central’s first team defense.
“We want to show we mean something, intimidate every team we are going to play,” Central defensive back Demetrius Pettway said. “We took last week personally.”
Can Central’s defense two in a row next week on the road? The Red Devils will face a motivated Auburn team that lost 28-0 against rival Opelika Friday night.
“We just have to keep our intensity up, keep flying to the ball, force turnovers and watch out for penalties,” Pettway said.
Final score: Central 36, Fairfield 0
Key play: Central quarterback Zion Webb’s 33-yard throw to Justyn Ross in the second quarter wasn’t the flashiest play of the game, but it signaled a turning point.
DuBose had to shift his game plan away from the ground game with Fairfield loading the box. DuBose admitted he waited a little bit too long to open the passing attack up, but when he finally did the Red Devils ran away with the game.
Justyn Ross, Central, wide receiver — Fairfield defensive backs simply couldn’t cover the 2018 No. 1 prospect in Alabama down the field. He showed chemistry with Webb catching a pair of deep throws in the first half to get the Red Devils in scoring position
Zion Webb, Central, quarterback — Webb bounced back from a disappointing opener. He was far from perfect — his accuracy on short throws has room for improvement — but he made big plays all night long to get the Red Devils their first win.
Individual stats: Central – Derrick Moore, wide receiver, 2 catches, 54 yards, 1 touchdown; Damon Jones, defensive back, 2 interceptions; Drake Holloway, wide receiver, 1 catch, 9 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 carry, 36 yards
Coach quote: “It’s (a shutout) what we have been vying for. Our kids work hard all week. You get in the fourth quarter you want to get a shutout and that’s what the defense plays for. We are proud they got it,” Central coach Jamey DuBose said.
Player quote: “It’s amazing to just know I have a weapon like that. It’s amazing to be in the position I am. He’s an amazing athlete and amazing player,” Central quarterback Zion Webb on receiver Justyn Ross.
Friday at Garrett-Harrison Stadium
C – Jaxton Carson 10 rush (kick good), 9:44
C – Zion Webb 9 rush (two-point conversion failed), 7:41
C – Anthony Miles 2 pass from Webb (kick good), 17.2
C – Derrick Moore 42 pass from Webb (kick good), 9:14
C – Drake Holloway 9 pass from Peter Parrish (kick good), 28.4
C-Central, safety, 0:00
Records: Fairfield 0-1, Central 1-1. Next: Central, home vs. Auburn, Sept,. 2, 8 p.m.