When the Central football team took the field Thursday night for a matchup with Park Hill South, the Indians weren’t expected to keep up with the seventh-best team that Missouri’s Class 6 had to offer.
They did exactly that, at least for the first half, before the Panthers outscored the Indians 30-6 in the second half en route to a 51-27 win over Central at Noyes Field.
“I thought we played really well,” Central coach Regi Trotter said. “The thing I challenged our guys to do tonight was compete, and we knew they were gonna be a good football team coming in, but we haven’t played our best football yet. … I challenged them to compete and play their best game tonight and just see what happens.”
The game started less than ideal for the Indians (1-8), who were forced into a three-and-out on the game’s opening drive. The Panthers (9-0) blocked the punt and returned it for the game’s first touchdown to go up 7-0 with 10:34 left in the first.
The Indians were able to keep things close in the first half, heading into halftime with the game tied 21-21 behind two interceptions from junior defensive back Anthony Vassar, along with two first-half touchdowns passes from junior quarterback Stone Wetlaufer.
“We were just out there playing our game plan that we had all week,” Wetlaufer said. “We just kept sticking with it and it kinda worked out. … We knew we can play like that all the time.”
The Panthers then returned the second half’s opening kickoff all the way to Central’s 14-yard line.
They found the end zone two plays later, when running back Derrien Jones got his second touchdown of the night on an 8-yard carry to put South up 28-21 with 11:34 left in the third quarter.
That was the beginning of the end for the Indians, as the Panthers opened the second half with 16 unanswered points before Central freshman running back Gabe Fields found the end zone from 5 yards out.