DUTCHTOWN - Special teams and defense defined Central and Dutchtown’s Friday night matchup with the Griffins edging the Wildcats 16-13 in overtime.
The game was played in downpour conditions, and as such both offenses struggled to score.
In the end the difference in the game was kicking, as Dutchtown went perfect on field goals and extra points, while Central had a field goal attempt blocked and missed an extra point missed.
That factored into Central coach Sid Edwards’ decision to go for the win on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in overtime instead of attempting a chip-shot field goal to extend the game further.
“There’s hardly any room for error in a game like this,” Edwards said. “We made some mistakes. We fumbled the football inside the 30, we missed a field goal of our own. We had some breakdowns and in a game like this, It’s an overtime football game. The margin of error is slim.”
Both teams struggled to pass the ball effectively on the mushy field.
Central went 5-16 from the air for 67 yards, while Dutchtown connected on 12 passes out of 20 but were less willing to take as many shots downfield and ended with 50 yards passing.
Central (0-2) left their mark on the ground, putting up 202 rushing yards with quarterback Sam Kennerson leading the charge with 142 yards on 19 attempts and two touchdowns.
Dutchtown opened the scoring on its first drive of the game on a 65-yard jet sweep from Jordan Jackson, who bounced the play outside and outran several Central defenders.
Central flipped the field position game with a blocked punt, taking over at Dutchtown's 27-yard line. The Wildcats moved the ball within inches from the goal line, but Dutchtown held firm and forced a fourth down.
After being stuffed up the middle three straight times, Edwards ran Kennerson on a speed option to the near side. Kennerson was able to find a hole immediately off the tackle and plunged in for the tying touchdown.
Central surged ahead on the second play of the second half when Kennerson kept the ball on a read option, hit the seam up the middle for a 70-yard touchdown run.
“It was a zone right,” Kennerson said. “I just saw the defensive end slow play and I held the ball in the running back’s arms than I usually do. It was on from there.”
Terry Matthews took the ensuing kickoff all the way back to the Central 30 and eventually got a 34-yard field goal from Cohen Parent to pull back into a one-possession game and followed that with a 27-yard effort one possession later to tie the game at 13-13.
“(The defense) played hard football tonight,” Kennerson said. “They got us stops when we needed them.”
Just as Central started to break off some chunk plays in the following possession, the Wildcats coughed the ball up with a fumble in Dutchtown territory.
With 2:50 left, Dutchtown faced fourth-and-2 from Central's 37-yard line and elected to punt. The boot resulted in a touchback, and on the next drive the Wildcats flipped the field position with a 39-yard pass from Kennerson to Parker Evans.
Shortly after Central faced its own fourth-and-short decision at the Dutchtown 25-yard line.
Unlike the Griffins, there was no hesitation from the Wildcats who easily picked up the first down with a shade over a minute left in regulation.
On the next set of downs, Central ran into the same situation on the 20. The Wildcats brought on Erick Canales for a potential game-winning field goal that was tipped at the line of scrimmage and was short and to the left of the upright with 13 seconds left.
In the first set of OT downs the Wildcats used a pair of touchdown-saving tackles from Jovonte Whiten and Isiah Rankins before an ineligible receiver pushed the Griffins into a field goal attempt. Parents’ 27-yard field goal gave the Griffins a 16-13 edge.
On their first possession of overtime, Central took the ball all the way to the 1-yard line and on fourth down, elected to try and go for the victory but Kenerson was stopped short of the end zone.
“We had actually talked about this situation back at our boot camp,” Edwards said. “We had a lot of confidence in our guys to try and win it right there. We felt good about it…No. 1, we wanted to go for the win and No. 2, we put it in our best player’s hands. That’s what he does. They made a good play.
“I love this team and I’m so proud of these kids,” Edwards said. “They’re playing so hard. Two-point loss last week and in overtime this week. It’s tough, but life lessons are learned on this football field. We want them to learn from it and grow from it. We’ve become a better team.”
Said Kenerson: “We knew we were going to go for it the whole time. That’s just how we are. We believe we could get it in and it just didn’t fall our way. We grew more this week than we did last week. That’s an improvement. But the ball doesn’t fall our way. That’s all you can say about it.”
DUTCHTOWN 16, CENTRAL 13 (OT)
SCORE BY QUARTERS
CHS 0 7 6 0 3 | 16
DHS 7 0 6 0 0 | 13
DUTCH – Jordan Jackson 65 run (Cohen Parent kick)
CEN – Samuel Kennerson 1 run (Andrew Medine kick)
CEN – Kennerson 70 run (Medine kick)
DUTCH – Parent 34 field goal
DUTCH – Parent 27 field goal
DUTCH – Parent 27 field goal
11 First Downs 11 8
35 – 202 Rushes – Yards 26 – 100
67 Passing Yards 50
5 – 16 – 1 Comp – Att – INT 12 – 20 – 0
4 – 35.5 Punts – AVG 6 -23.5
1 – 1 Fumbles – Lost 0 – 0
6 – 55 Penalties – Yards 4 – 39