Center looks good in win over Grain Valley

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: September 9, 2017 - 12:25 AM


It you want the playbook on the ideal start to a football game, look no further than Center Friday night on the road against Grain Valley.

The Yellowjackets used a near-perfect first quarter to overwhelm the Eagles and they never looked back, cruising to a 49-28 victory to improve to 3-1 on the season.

The Center defense forced two punts and recovered a fumble in the first quarter, all of which gave the offense starting field position in Grain Valley territory. Those short fields led to three touchdowns and a 21-0 lead before the first quarter even came to a close.

“You can’t draw it up any better than that,” Center head coach Bryan DeLong said.

The Yellowjacket offense was a machine, doing damage in the run game, whether they ran between the tackles or to the outside, and they hit big pass plays all game long, with short catch-and-runs and deep throws over the top. Whatever they did seemed to work.

“As a defensive guy, we always talk about being a headache for other defenses,” DeLong said. “We want to make them defend the whole field. Our offense is designed to stress defenses.”

Center ripped off several big plays, including three touchdowns that went for 40-plus yards.

“It’s demoralizing,” Grain Valley head coach David Allie said. “It gives them momentum and confidence. It’s an uphill battle when those things happen. We talked about not letting one big play turn into two but it did tonight.”

Center quarterback Amaun Ryan was in sync with his wide receivers all night, and he got the scoring started early with a touchdown pass to Jeremiah Wilson for a 7-0 lead on a drive that took less than a minute and a half.

After Grain Valley fumbled and Center recovered on its next possession, Ryan needed just one play to put the Yellowjackets back in the end zone, as he found Darius Porter streaking across the middle wide open for a 40-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

Another forced punt by the defense and a good punt return put the Yellowjackets on the Eagle 29 on their next possession, but this time they ran into a little adversity. After getting to the 14-yard line, they had three straight penalties to put them in a first-and-32 situation. It wouldn’t matter. Ryan would find David Wilson for a 34-yard gain down the sideline and on the next play Jeremiah Wilson found the end zone again on a 2-yard run. Just like that it was 21-0.

“Last year I think we had a first-and-41 and I think it was against Grain Valley, too,” Ryan said. “But we believe in coach and his play calls, so we just go out and do it.”

Grain Valley got as close as 28-14 with just 1:15 left to play in the half but couldn’t get the stop they needed. Center decided to air it out before the half and Ryan found David Wilson down the sideline for a 61-yard touchdown and a 35-14 lead at the half.

“We got him singled up and figured why not take a chance,” DeLong said.

Coming out of the half it was Jeremiah Wilson who did the damage, taking a short pass from Ryan out in the flat to the house for a 66-yard touchdown, with a key block coming from David.

“Jeremiah, he’s always available,” Ryan said. “He’s always asking for the ball. He’s a big target for me.”

Jeremiah and Ryan both had monster games, each of them having their hand in five touchdowns.

For the Eagles, they finally got into a bit of a rhythm on offense as the game progressed, but never could get the defensive stand they needed. They fell to 2-2 with the loss.

“That’s two weeks in a row now that we’ve dug ourselves a hole,” Allie said. “Hats off to their defense. They took away our read-option game. They did a great job with their defensive ends.

“But these guys know two games doesn’t define us. The good thing is that these guys have bought in to what we’re doing. We just have to go get some things fixed.”

Grain Valley will travel to Pleasant Hill next week, while the Yellowjackets will host St. Pius X.