Spartans fall to Eagles in District 9-5A opener
In a game with limited possessions, Crowley made more plays Friday night as the Eagles defeated Centennial, 20-7, in both squads District 9-5A opener at Burleson ISD Stadium.
Each team had seven possessions on the night.
Crowley (2-2. 1-0) made the most of its possessions, scoring three touchdowns to win its second consecutive over the Spartans. Centennial (1-3, 0-1), which shared the district title last season with Crowley, scored on its first possession and couldn’t find the end zone after that.
Centennial plays at Cleburne (0-4. 0-1) Friday in a must-win situation for both teams,
“They are right where we are at desperate for a win,” Centennial coach Kyle Geller said. “The one that wants it the most is going to win, I suppose. We have to figure out how to be a better team. I told the kids after the game that we better come in hungry and not feeling sorry for ourselves. I think we have a good team. We can’t even look past the next play. We just have to keep grinding and we will be okay.”
Eagles quarterback Chris James led three scoring drives for Crowley to win the game.
Crowley tied the game with a drive that spanned two quarters and chewed eight minutes and 20 seconds off the clock. The Eagles went 69 yards in 19 plays. James converted a fourth-and-seven that the Spartans 22 with an eight-yard run, then scored five plays later on a one-yard run.
After Centennial quarterback Kyle Burns lost a fumble on the first play of the second half, James and the Eagles converted the turnover into a 13-7 lead with nine minutes to play in the third quarter.
“We opened the second half with another fumbled snap, that is enough to make me melt on the sideline,” Geller said. “That part is maddening, all you can do is keep working on it. It’s not like it happens in practice but it happens in games.”
The Eagles ran the ball seven times and converted a fourth-and-seven at Centennial 30 with a 12-yard run by James. Crowley needed three more plays to take the lead when James scored on a four-yard run.
“Our third down defense was not very good tonight,” Geller said. “We didn’t tackle well and we got pushed around a little bit.”
Centennial’s next possession ended on downs when quarterback Kyle Burns run on fourth-and-six came up a yard short. Crowley’s drive seemed to have stalled but Rodrick Williams broke off a 27-yard run on third-and-10 to keep the match alive. Then facing fourth-and-nine at the Spartans’ 23, James threw a touchdown strike to Zae’lin Mitchell for a 20-7 lead with 3:21 to play in the third.
On the night, James completed six of seven passes for 72 yards and a score. James, the son of Crowley head football coach Chris James, carried 14 times for 43 yards. Williams led the Eagles running game with 86 yards on 14 carries. Mook Haley carried 11 times of 64 yards.
The Spartans tried to cut into Crowley’s lead on their next possession. Even though Centennial overcame a pair of 10-yard penalties and a third-and-19 with a 22-yard pass from Burns to David Robinson, the Spartans couldn’t score.
On fourth-and-sixth at the Eagles 9, a double reverse to Robinson ended in a four-yard loss and a turnover on downs.
After forcing a punt on Crowley’s first possession of the game, Centennial’s offense covered 74 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead with 6:07 to play in the first quarter. Burns hits Chris Mosely for a 17-yard score.
Burns threw for 63 yards and led the Spartans in rushing with 20 carries for 62 yards. Kevan Romero rushed for 45 yards on 11 attempts.
“I saw a lot of good things offensively,” Geller said. “We moved the ball each time we had it until late in the game. We just aren’t finishing drives. We keep doing things to get in our own way. I feel like we left a lot of meat on the bone.”