Blocked field goal lifts Spartans past Hawks
HURST – With 23 seconds to play, Centennial’s Kelton Tezeno came free around the corner and blocked a possible game-winning field goal as the Spartans defeated Birdville, 14-13, at the Birdville ISD FAAC Friday night.
It was a big moment for the Spartans special teams, which had a rough outing with a loss to Saginaw Boswell last week and had botched several plays earlier in the game.
It was the Spartans second kick block of the game. In the third quarter, Centennial blocked a point-after attempt when Birdville took a 13-7 lead.
After getting pushed around at times in the first half, Centennial’s defense played much better in the second half. Linebackers Jacob Jackson and Blake Murphy had big games as the Spartans’ defensive front line.
“The coaches made a few adjustments at halftime and it worked out well,” Centennial coach Kyle Geler said. “We tackled better. That was a key. We got a lot more pressure on their quarterback late in the game.”
In the first half, Jackson made an acrobatic catch to halt a Birdville possession in Spartans’ territory. Murphy had a big stop on third-and-two that forced a punt, and lineman Mazen Richards had a big sack.
The defense halted the Hawks’ last drive at the Centennial 18 before Tezeno’s block.
Centennial coach Kyle Geller turned to junior quarterbacks Kyle Burns and Hunter Prescher Friday night.
Prescher engineered the Spartans second quarter scoring drive and Burns put together Centennial’s third quarter scoring drive.
Last week, Burns took every snap, but Prescher earned his opportunity to lead the Spartans’ offense Friday.
“It wasn’t really planned out in my mind to get Hunter into the game, but he had a really good week of practice,” Geller said. “Hunter does a good job of running and managing our offense, so I wanted to give him a shot to do some things, and he did some great things. He led us on a long scoring drive. He threw for a touchdown and had a couple of nice runs.”
After Birdville took a 7-0 lead on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Skylar Noble to Dylan Sterling in the second quarter, the Spartans answered on their next possession.
Prescher put together a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown pass from Prescher to Wellington Bridges with 10 seconds left before halftime. On the march, Prescher converted a third-and-seven with a 15-yard screen pass to Darrell Williams. On his first carry as a Spartan, Chris Mosely ran for 18 yards to the Birdville 5 on fourth-and-four. Then Prescher threw his touchdown pass.
Birdville (0-2), which suffered its second one-point loss of the season, took advantage of a Centennial fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half to take a 13-7 lead. The Hawks needed five plays to break the 7-7 tie. Noble scored from a yard out, but the point-after attempt was blocked.
Hawks’ running back Damian Morrell carried 16 times for 94 yards including a 20-yard run on the score drive.
Centennial answered as Burns led a seven-play, 75-yard drive to take the Spartans’ first lead of the game at 14-13. Facing a third-and-six at the Birdville 36, Burns hit Da’Quan Campbell for a 31-yard gain to the Birdville 6. Three plays later, Burns scored from a yard out.
“I’m proud of both of our quarterbacks,” Geller said. “They will both play again.”
Burns, who started the game, carried 13 times for 89 yard. Darrell Williams rushed for 58 yards on 10 attempts. Prescher completed two of three passes for 20 yards and a score.
“We got the ball into more guys’ hands, but we still need to distribute the ball more on offense,’ said Geller after nine Spartans had touches Friday. “We played a lot smarter as a team. Execution, at times, was really good and executing at other times was really not. There are some things that have to be cleaned up.”
Centennial plays its final non-district game Friday at White Settlement Brewer (1-1).
The Bears have gone from a pistol-look running attack to a four-wide passing look, and have adopted a three-man front on defense.
“They look like a different team,” Geller. “They throw it around on offense and are getting better and better at it each week. They pose a challenge for us.”