• Centenial linebacker Chris Hilliard gets ready to sack Midolthian quarterback Austen Thomas during the Spartans’ 24-7 District 5-5A Division II victory Friday night over the Panthers. BURLESON STAR/aNGELIQUE HAYS

Defense turns the tide for Spartans in win

Protecting a 10-7 halftime lead, Centennial made plays in all three phases in the second half to top Midlothian, 24-7, in a District 5-5A Division II game Friday at Burleson ISD Stadium.

The win improved the Spartans (4-1) to 2-1 in district play, Centennial plays Burleson Friday in the school’s annual “Boot Game.”

The plays came after Midlothian (4-1, 2-1) scored with 19 seconds left in the first half to cut Centennial’s lead to 10-7 when Panthers quarterback Austen Thomas hit Nathan Humphreys for a 14-yard score.

Centennial Matiroyn Easley made the first big play of the second half when he recovered a muffed Midlothian punt at the Spartans 11 with 8:06 to play in the third quarter.

“Special teams made a play or two that made a difference,” Centennial coach Kyle Geller said.

With possession secured, Centennial quarterback Kyle Burns engineered an 89-yard, 10-play drive. The key play of the drive was made by the Spartans’ special teams when punter Hank Meyer raced five yards for a first down on fourth-and-five at the Centennial 23.

After back-to-back runs by Chris Mosley of 34 yards and Jeff Kirven of 26 yards, Burns capped the drive with a seven-yard scoring run that put the Spartans up 17-7 with 3:30 left in the third quarter. It was Burns second rushing score of the game.

“Offensively we had very, very average execution,” Geller said. “Midlothian had a really nice scheme against us but at the same time we didn’t execute well. We didn’t get the ball to the edge like we should.”

Midlothian put together a 13-play drive that came up with no points when Centennial’s defense stopped Panthers running back Ethan Hill on a fourth-and-goal at the Centennial 1 with 8:53 to play in the game.

“The defense played really well,” Geller said. “That goal line stand was awesome. I hope that gives them some confidence.”

Five plays later, Centennial put the game out of reach when Kirven raced 75 yards for a touchdown. The score put the Spartans up 24-7 with 5:59 remaining. Kirven finished the game with 169 yards on 19 carries.

For the night, Centennial rushed for 257 yards on 41 attempts.

The Spartans defense had its second nice outing of the season.

After limiting Everman to 8 points in a win last Thursday, Centennial held the Panthers to seven points and 211 yards of offense on 55 plays.

The victory made Geller the winningest coach Burleson ISD history with 46 wins.

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