DAY 8: Paden, Elks stun Spartans
Sports Editors Note:
This is the eighth in a series of 17 football game stories that will tout either a Burleson or Centennial victory. The series is meant to get you excited about the upcoming season and also serve as a lead up to the release of our 2016 Football Section in our Aug. 18 edition.
Once Centennial defensive players went to sleep following Burleson’s 55-35 District 8-5A win over the Spartans before a sellout crowd at BISD Stadium in the annual “Battle for the Boot” game, they might still see Elks’ senior quarterback Preston Paden running through their dreams.
Paden ran for four scores and threw for four more touchdowns as the Elks handed a third consecutive loss to their crosstown rivals and retained “The Boot” for another year. Burleson leads the all-time series, 3-1. It was also the Elks largest margin of victory in the series.
“I’m proud of them,” Burleson coach Gary McElroy said. “They won as freshmen and haven’t ever lost to Centennial.”“You can point to about 10 plays that could have made a difference tonight,” Centennial coach Kyle Geller said. “Like the interception on the first drive, Tezeno’s fumble at the goal line and the penalty on the punt. We just made too many mistakes.”
On offense, just five players touched the ball for Burleson against Centennial and the Elks still finished with 593 yards of offense on 63 plays. Burleson averaged 9.4 yards per play.
Paden was the star in his final “Boot” game. The senior scored on runs of 1, 32, 20 and 20 yards as he racked up 280 yards rushing on 23 attempts (12.2 yards per carry). Paden also completed 8-of-13 passes for 193 yards and four touchdowns.
On the night, Paden tallied 473 yards of offense.
“We didn’t play every well on defense,” Geller said. “They pushed us around in the second half and we didn’t tackle Paden well.”
Senior running back Kobe Slaughter finished with 120 yards rushing on 27 attempts while senior receiver Taylor Bissell, who has played in all four “Boot” games, caught five passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns.
After slow first half that saw Centennial take a 10-7 lead on Kelton Tezeno’s 79-yard run only to have Paden score from a yard out in the final seconds to give Burleson a 14-7 halftime times, things heated up offensively in the third quarter.
On Burleson’s first possession of the second half, the Elks went up 21-10 on a 32-yard run by Paden.
Centennial answered with a 39-yard run by Tezeno to cut the lead to 21-17.
That was when Paden and Bissell took over the game.
“We made adjustments and saw the matchup,” Paden said. “If I throw it, he’ll go get it. He’s the fastest player on the field. As fast as he is, he’s stronger.”
First, Paden hit Bissell for a 43-yard score and a 28-17 lead. After a Spartans punt, Bissell hauled in a 26-yard touchdown strike from Paden for a 35-17 lead with 3:33 to play in the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jaylen Johnson, who accounted for the Elks’ first score of the night on a 17-yard reception from Paden, recovered a fumble the Spartans’ 26. Two plays later, Paden found Bissell for a 29-yard score that put Burleson up 42-17 with 3:12 to play in the third quarter.
“We weren’t worried about the rivalry,” Bissell said. “We wanted to go 4-0 in district.”
Centennial cut Burleson’s lead to 42-28 on a seven-yard score by Payton Strambler and a 27-yard Reid field goal but the Spartans could get no closer.
“We moved the ball at times,” Geller said. “But you can’t settle for field goals. We have to park the car in the garage.”
Tezeno finished the night with seven carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Strambler rushed for 116 yards and a score on 16 carries. Shayne Streminski carried 16 times for 92 yards and a score.