Center stops Pleasant Hill to win district crown

By Kyle Yehle PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: November 4, 2017 - 12:31 AM

Pleasant Hill came into Friday's district championship against Center with a razor-thin margin of error in order to win.

Midway through the first quarter, the Roosters missed their only chance to take a lead over Class 3's No. 8 team. Immediately, the Yellowjackets swarmed and downed another MRVC West team for the second week in a row with a 38-13 win, clinching a spot in the state quarterfinals.

"With [Pleasant Hill] ahead of the chains and with first-and-goal, I thought our defense stepped up tremendously," Center head coach Bryan DeLong said. "Then to get a stop and for the offense to drive it 90 yards was a huge confidence booster."

That second drive of the game by the Roosters ended with senior tailback Cody Faust meeting a wall of Center defenders on fourth down. DeLong's team capitalized, racing 96 yards down the field for a short run by senior signal-caller Amaun Ryan.

Pleasant Hill punted on its next drive, and Ryan led his team to another score, this one a 2-yard jaunt inside the pylon for a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

"Center's just a really good team," Rooster head coach Greg Smith said. "We were just not able to hit the big play against them... they can hit you with so many different weapons."

A bad snap and fumble by Pleasant Hill led to another Center score through the air eight minutes before halftime. The Roosters were able to answer two drives later, but Ryan hit senior receiver Raymontey McNeal on a 36-yard touchdown pass with under a minute before intermission to make it 28-6 heading into the third period.

By eliminating upstart Pleasant Hill, Center advances to play No. 7 Maryville next Saturday - the team that ended Center's season a year ago.

"It's redemption," Ryan said. "We went there and lost last year. We just want to get at it and go farther than any other team at Center."