Coaches say “Boot Game” could hinge on turnovers

One mistake can swing a football game.

And in a rivalry game like Friday night’s “Hall of Fame/Boot Game” between Burleson and Centennial a turnover can be monumental.

In last years game, a late interception cost Centennial and led to a last-second game-winning field goal in Burleson’s 31-28 victory.

Turnovers can swing momentum and sometimes give teams short fields to work with at crucial moments.

According to both coaches winning the turnover battle will be crucial.

In the past six games in this friendly rivalry series, the team that won the turnover battle also won the game.

Burleson (5-0, 3-0) hosts Centennial (4-1, 2-1) in the District 5-5A Division II showdown at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Burleson ISD Stadium. Burleson leads the series, 4-2. Centennial’s last win in the series came in 2016.

“It’s always going to come down to turnovers and the field position battle,” Burleson coach Gary McElroy said.

Centennial has turned the ball over seven times this season. Six of those turnovers came in a 63-16 district loss to Aledo.

“We haven’t turned the ball over since Aledo,” Centennial coach Kyle Geller said. “I hope we’ve got that under control. And we are forcing turnovers.”

Burleson has committed three turnovers this season and two of those were returned for scores.

The Elks come into the game featuring one of the top defenses in the area,

In five games this season Burleson’s defense has allowed two touchdowns and shutout three opponents.

“Their defense is certainly playing well,” Geller said. “They run to the ball well and are sound tacklers. We are going to have to be concerned with protecting the football against them.”

McElroy said he has been impressed with Centennial’s offense.

Facing the triple option is always a task for a defense.

“Their skill kids can run,” McElroy said. “We need to bottle them up. Defensively, we will need to rally to the ball because they can run. You have to play assignment football more so than ever against a team like Centennial.  There are so many moving parts. You have to be really sound against it.”

The Elks get the benefit of three days of rest since they played Thursday. That also gave the coaching staff extra time to get ready for the game.

“I think they have a good team and I think we have one also,” Geller said. “It should be a great game.”

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