KC Central tops Northeast
By Toriano Porter PrepsKC Staff Writer
The aerial attack for Kansas City Central coming into into Friday’s Interscholastic League contest against Northeast had not been the team’s strong point this season.
The Blue Eagles rely on a ball-control offense that often times features a full-house backfield and an unbalanced line.
After quarterback Michael Harris and wide receiver Bobby Jackson’s exploits in the Blue Eagles’ 26-13 win over the Vikings, the passing game may prove to be a compliment to Central’s pound and ground game over the next two weeks of regular season play.
Jackson corralled five passes for 173 yards and a touchdown, including two 50-plus yard catch and runs that set up two Blue Eagle scores.
“Our run game really set that up,” Central head coach Mark Faubion said. “Just that grind it out mentality. We felt like we could catch some people sleeping and that’s really what happened. When you have to dedicate as many guys that you have to to stop our run game, then offensively we can get those (receivers) open.”
Northeast had trouble in its kicking game prior to the game. To remedy the situation, Vikings head coach Terry McCray appointed running back and leading rusher Desmond Walker as the team’s de facto kicker.
For a while it looked as if Walker’s high-arching, end-over-end floater would be the difference in the game after the Vikings tied the score at 12-12 halfway through the second quarter. They went ahead 13-12 on Walker’s kick.
Lead by Walker’s versatility on offense, defense and special teams, the Vikings tried to stopped a five-game losing streak with a Homecoming win over Central, but were shutout in the second half.
“He did a pretty good job,” McCray said of Walker, a senior who rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown.
And what prompt McCray to tap Walker for kicking duties?
“Our normal kicker wasn’t making them,” the coach said.
With the victory, Central improved to 3-4 overall on the season and 3-0 in league play. They also kept their IL championship hopes alive. Lincoln Prep leads the league with a 3-0 mark.
“We’re just going to keep working on the little things,” Faubion said. “We’ve got an offense that we believe in now. Now it’s a matter of making simple little adjustments.”
Northeast, which sported pink socks in honor of breast cancer awareness, dropped their sixth consecutive game.
They fell to 1-6 overall and 1-2 in league play.
“It’s my job as head coach to win football games,” McCray said. “It’s tough losing on your homecoming.”
Central stuck first on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Jackson three minutes into the game. The Blue Eagles capitalized on a fumble by Walker on the Vikings’ first offensive series.
A fumbled snap on a punt attempt gave Northeast a short field and helped set up their first score. The Vikings took over at the Central 20-yard line and five plays later Walker sliced and diced his way into the endzone to tie the score at 6-6 with 1:29 left in the opening quarter.
The Blue Eagles’ big-play tandem connected again in the second quarter to set up Central’s second score. A pass from Harris to Jackson covered 27 yards setting up Central on a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line.
Harris scored a play later on a 1-yard run to make the score 12-6 Central with 5:14 left before halftime. The conversion attempt was no good.
Northeast answered immediately on the subsequent kickoff when Brian Brownlow took a short kick and returned it 45 yards for a Vikings’ touchdown. Walker’s extra point kick gave Northeast a 13-12 lead with 5:04 to go before the break.
Walker was Mr. Do Everything for Northeast, returning an interception from his team’s endzone and returning it 50 yards before being forced out of bounds as time expired in the second quarter.
“He did just about everything; interception, touchdown,” McCray said. “He can do it all. He’s a good kid.”
A fumble by Northeast gave the ball back to Central less than a minute into the third quarter. Central’s Harris and Jackson was at it again, connecting on a 56-yard reception that set up Harris’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Kieanthony Rankins with 7:40 left in the third.
The score put Central in front 18-13 after another failed conversion attempt.
Later, Harris and Jackson continued their aerial assault, connecting on a post pattern for 50 yards. Jackson was tackled at the 5-yard line as time expired in the third, but a 5-yard touchdown run for the Blue Eagles with 11:52 made the score 24-13 Central.
Harris’ two-point run gave Central a 26-13 lead.
“I told my team before the game that we were going to come out here and play strong,” Jackson said. “And that’s what we did.”
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