Center rolls past Lincoln Prep
By Toriano Porter PrepsKC Staff Writer
An entertaining, evenly played first quarter between host Center and Lincoln College Prep turned into a run away as the Blue Jackets used a steady power running game and timely special teams play to claim a 55-14 win Friday over visiting Lincoln Prep.
Center’s Norvell Trent, a junior running back, had a field day against Lincoln Prep, tallying four touchdowns on the ground. The Blue Jackets also recovered two squib kicks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown en route to their fourth win in as many games.
The victory gave Center head coach Bryan DeLong a warm and fuzzy feeling - if only for a brief moment - on a chilly late summer, early fall evening.
The game was called with 2 minutes, 23 seconds left in the third after a brawl that surfaced near midfield forced DeLong and Lincoln Prep head coach to make a tough decision
“Both Coach Newell and I, the fear of our players, the heads were hot,” Delong said of the deciding factor to end the contest early. Both teams lost several key players to ejections. “Both teams play a bunch of kids both ways and we both lost two or three starters that aren’t going to be able to play next week.
“The game was decided and we both realized that.”
The miscues committed by Lincoln Prep became a recurring theme for the Blue Tigers, now 1-3 on the season. Lincoln Prep lost 50-14 last week to Oak Grove after trailing 23-14 early in the second quarter.
Newell and his players left the field immediately after the game was called and weren’t available for postgame interviews.
Trent, Center’s punishing back, was a man of few words after the game.
“My line was doing everything they were supposed to do,” the 5-foot-10, 170 pounder said. “I was just running behind the holes they built for me.”
Center jumped in front 7-0 in the first quarter after Trent’s first score, but Lincoln Prep answered behind their bread and butter Wing-T style running game to even the score halfway through the opening quarter.
After the teams traded punts, Trent followed his own 40-yard punt return with a 20-yard burst to end first quarter. He began the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Yellow Jackets a 13-7 edge.
A successful extra point gave Center a 14-7 lead.
Center followed the score with a squib kicked that Lincoln Prep couldn’t corral and faced first and 10 from the 28 after they recovered. Two plays later, on a third and 7, Trent powered and sped his way to a 25-yard touchdown run.
The extra point made it 21-7 barely a minute into the second quarter.
Lincoln Prep’s Dwayne Clayton returned the ensuing kickoff 84-yards to 6 yard line to give the Blue Tigers a first and goal from the 6-yard line.
“After (Clayton) returned that one to the (6)-yard line, it (squib kicks) became a permanent deal,” DeLong said. “I’ve been around long enough to know you don’t give a good athlete like that space to do damage.”
After three not-so-successful rushing attempts, Lincoln Prep’s Harris Frazier connected with 6-foot-6 inch wide receiver Isaac Smith for a 8-yard touchdown pass.
A successful extra point closed the gap to 21-14 with 8 minutes, 41 seconds left in the second.
Things looked promising for the Lincoln Prep defense on the next possession until Trent converted a fourth and 1 near midfield.
Three plays later, on a third and 10 from the 44-yard line, Trent burst through for another scoring run. However a clipping penalty nullified the score.
No sweat for the Blue Jackets, who fed Trent again for a first down on third and 2.
Center’s Ronnie Thomas followed that with a 19-yard scoring run on a jet sweep with 5:09 left before halftime.
The extra point gave Center a 28-14 lead.
Center recovered another squib kick shortly after and took over at the Blue Tigers’ 29-yard line.
Three plays later, Center found paydirt once more when quarterback Amaun Ryan found wide receiver Cristian Cox in the endzone for a 6-yard touchdown.
After another successful kick, Center went ahead 35-14.
After Center forced another punt, Robert Gillium recovered a botched snap and returned it for a 20-yard touchdown that helped the Blue Jackets extend the lead to 42-14 with less than four minutes to go before halftime.
Trent continued his masterpiece with a 14-yard scoring run on the opening possession of the third quarter that helped make the score 49-14. The jaunt ended Trent’s night. He spent the rest of the game on the sidelines to rest up for next week.
“He’s a humble kid and he has real talent,” DeLong said of Trent. “He’s probably the best running back I’ve coached in 20 years of coaching.”
A scoring run from Center late in the third quarter provided the game’s final score. before fireworks prematurely erupted.
“I thought we were further along in the program not to react.” DeLong said. “But, you know, it’s an emotional game. Stuff happens. It was a bad way to end a good night”
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