DAY 10: Spartans blank Crowley for homecoming win
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.
Playing at home following a road loss seems to be an elixir of sorts for Centennial’s football.
After a loss at Saginaw Boswell, the Spartans came home and opened District 8-5A play with a win over Everman.
Friday night, Centennial erased all memories of a district loss at Aledo by shutting out Crowley, 34-0, at Burleson ISD Stadium for a homecoming win.
The shutout was the Spartans second of the season.
“To pitch a shutout in district play is a big deal for us,” Centennial coach Kyle Geller said.
The Spartans set the tone early against Crowley by scoring on their opening possession. After an all alone Blake Birdwell dropped a touchdown pass, Kelton Tezeno, making his first start at slot back, broke free for a 40-yard score and a 6-0 lead.
It was a breakout game offensively for Tezeno, who also starts at safety on defense.
“Kelton definitely brings a different dimension to our offense,” Geller said. “He has some meat on his bones so he is a little harder to bring down. Hopefully we can continue to get the same kind of production of him the rest of the season.”
Crowley then marched the ball on the Spartans defense. The Eagles behind running back Corey May moved from their 30 to the Spartans 17. After a penalty on third down moved the ball back, Birdwell broke up a touchdown pass and Eagles’ quarterback Chris James couldn’t convert a fourth down pass.
Centennial took possession at its 17 and needed just four plays to go up 14-0 with 4:19 to play in the first quarter. After missing an option pitch on the previous play, Tezeno took the ball and raced 59 yards for the score. Tezeno finished the game with seven carries for 125 yards.
The Spartans’ defense made stops on fourth down on Crowley’s next three possession and the offense turned the defensive stands into a 28-0 halftime lead.
First, Tristen Townley capped a five-play, 34-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run. Townley set up the score with a 31-yard. On the night, Townley carried 12 times for 83 yards. On the Spartans’ next possession, Blake Birdwell scored on a 16-yard run. That scoring drive covered 46 yards on six plays.
In the third quarter, Gage Isaacs’s interception and 13-yard return setup the Spartans final score. Taking over at the Eagles 23, Centennial needed six plays to score. Tezeno hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Payton Strambler for a 34-0 lead. It was the Spartans lone completion of the night.
Centennial’s defense held Crowley, which entered the contest on a two-game district winning streak, to 212 yards on 53 plays.
“Our defense played well tonight,” Geller said. “They bent but they didn’t break. The interception by Isaacs’ was a key play in the game.”
Mays carried 24 times for 116 yards and James completed 5-of-16 passes for 62 yards.
It was the Spartans’ second consecutive win over Crowley.