St. Pius sends Center home with first loss
By Joe Caronia PrepsKC Staff Writer
In a game that featured a little of everything St. Pius X defeated Center 23-13.
Defense was king, during the first half. Both teams could move the ball, but when they crossed midfield, they stalled.
Early in the second quarter, Center was faced with a fourth and four. Yellowjackets Head Coach, Bryan DeLong called a pass that was completed for the first down but before the play was over, the Warrior defense forced a fumble and recovered on its own 14-yard line.
The Warriors were moving the ball, picking up three first downs, but Center sacked Marshall Mason. This led to a punt and Center took over with less than four minutes in the half. Quarterback Raheem Muhammad drove the Yellowjackets to Warriors 22 yard line. On the last play of the half Muhammad was sacked and the teams went to the half scoreless.
Center fullback Tony Caldwell took the second half kickoff on a bounce and scampered 96 yards for the first score of the game. Jay Stephenson converted the kick and Center was up 7-0.
Senior quarterback Marshall Mason moved the Warriors downfield through the air. The drive stalled in the red zone, Chris Rupp kicked an 18-yard field goal, making the score 7-3.
Center turned the ball over on downs in their own territory. After a facemask penalty moved the ball to the Center 19-yard line, a strange play happened. Quarterback Marshall Mason was rolling right and a Center lineman had his jersey. The official blew his whistle a short blast, the play continued and the pass was completed for a score. The referee marked the ball where Mason was in the grasp. No score, loss of 12. After the officials talked the play over, the ball was moved back to the original line of scrimmage, and the down was repeated. Mason dropped back again, and connected with Ryan Vutich in the corner of the endzone. The kick was missed and the Warriors were up 9-7.
With just over a minute left in the third quarter Gabe Akalugwu powered through the line from 8 yards out. Rupp was good making the score 16-7.
Muhammad had moved Center into the red zone but Vutich came up with an interception. Pius had the ball on their own 5. The game changed when Nicholas Kelliher went 69 yards, to flip the field. Mason scored on 2-yard sneak. The kick was good making the score 23-7.
The Yellowjackets refused to give up as Tony Caldwell scored on a 4 yard run. The two-point pass was no good, for the final score 23-13.
After the game Warrior s coach Rick Byers talked about his team’s defense.
“We did a good job of setting the edge, they are much faster than us, and we did not want them getting outside,” Byers said. “And Patrick Revnew has an excellent motor ,he did a great job of putting pressure on the quarterback.”
When asked about the inadvertent whistle, Byers said, “I was grateful for him, (the official), protecting my kid, but I didn’t want to lose all those yards.”
In defeat Bryan DeLong gave credit to Byers and the Warriors.
“I have all the respect in the world for coach, (Byers), we are a faster team, but they were more prepared and they made fewer mistakes, that’s why they won,” DeLong said.
DeLong was indifferent about the quick whistle, “I think he just made a mistake and blew the whistle early. I tell my kids play to the whistle, they heard it, they stopped. That didn’t cost us the game.”
Next week the Warriors who improved their record to 3-2, will host the Warrensburg Tigers. The Yellowjackets who fall to 4-1, will also have a home game as they prepare for the Clinton Cardinals.
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