Late field goal lifts Spartans to 2-0 start
On a night when offense ruled, it was a defensive play that provided the crowning moment in Burleson Centennial’s 52-49 win over visiting Denison Friday night at Burleson ISD Stadium.
Spartans kicker Ben Harwell provided the winning points with his 25-yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining. It was the eighth consecutive possession (four for each team) in which the team with the ball scored in the second half.
And it looked as though the Yellow Jackets might make it nine straight possessions when they took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the Centennial 29-yard line with time running out. However, with eight seconds remaining, instead of attempting a game-tying field goal, they opted to go for the win.
“Ben worked very hard all summer on his kicking,” Centennial coach Kyle Geller said. “I’m so glad to see him get this.”
Centennial’s Da’Quan Campbell ended the threat and the game with an interception.
“I can’t live through too many more of these. If you’d told me before the game it’d be that kind of score between our two teams,” Geller said. “I’d have never believed you. But they decided to go uptempo, which is against their style. They kept running the same play.”
Campbell also recovered a first-half fumble, which led to the first of two Kyle Burns 1-yard quarterback sneak touchdowns, at the time giving Centennial a 21-7 advantage.
He’s always been a playmaker. He just always seems to be in the right place at the right time. We didn’t even know if he was going to play this season,” Geller said, referencing an offseason injury to Campbell.
Burns, who also dealt with an injury during the offseason, continued his strong start to the season. Along with the two TD runs, he finished the night with 112 yards rushing on 24 carries and completed four of eight passes for 102 yards and two more touchdowns. His first TD pass of 24 yards to David Robinson put the Spartans up 7-0 early, and his second of 59 yards to Chris Mosley gave them a 35-28 lead late in the third quarter.
“He had another solid night, ran the ball well, and had some really good throws, especially that one to Mosley,” Geller said of Burns. “And Robinson made a fantastic catch.”
Following Robinson’s touchdown catch, the Spartans took a 14-0 lead on Jaylan Jackson’s 12-yard run. Jackson, who finished with 70 yards on just six carries, would also score on a 47-yard run that gave Centennial a 49-42 lead with 4:37 remaining.
Denison was led by freshman running back Jadarian Price, who topped all rushers with 179 yards on 22 carries with four touchdowns. His 54-yard score tied the contest at 28 midway through the third quarter, and his 2-yard run deadlocked it again at 49 with 2:41 left in the game.
Though Denison had an answer for everything except Harwell’s final field goal, the Spartans never trailed in the game. They led by two touchdowns on three occasions, the last being 28-14 after Jeff Kirven’s 1-yard score with just over two minutes left in the first half.
The teams combined to rush for more than 650 yards. Centennial rushed 57 times for 340 yards, and Denison gained 323 on 50 carries.
Also for the Spartans, Kirven finished with 77 yards on 17 carries and Mosley added 69 yards on nine carries. Hank Meyer converted a fake punt for 12 yards.
Robinson caught two passes for 35 yards, and Jacoby Angel hauled in one for 8 yards.
The Centennial defense forced three turnovers. Along with Campbell’s recovery and pick, Mykel Parker recovered a fumble.
Centennial now turns its attention to its District 9-5A Division II opener at home against Aledo at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Bearcats own the state record for consecutive district victories with 75 and counting, having last lost a league game in 2007.
“We’ve always taken the approach that we’re going to worry about us first and not worry about their tradition and history,” Geller said.