Extreme Escape Games Game of the Week
By SAM McGAW
Brentwood Bruins (8-4) at Centennial Cougars (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday
For the second straight season, the Brentwood Bruins and Centennial Cougars will battle each other to keep their state title hopes alive.
The two Region 7-5A rivals square off in a Class 5A quarterfinal at CHS Friday.
Centennial, which eliminated Brentwood in the second round last year, took down the Bruins 27-17 on Oct. 14.
“It’s tough to play a team twice and beat a team twice,” Centennial head coach Matt Kriesky said. “We’ve looked at the film and the mistakes we made against them the first time. We implemented some new things that we hope will help us Friday night.”
Centennial beat Henry County 21-0 last week, while Brentwood defeated Memphis Central 34-27 in overtime.
Cornerback Xavier Howard blocked two extra points in the victory, including one that would’ve given Memphis Central a one-point lead with two minutes left.
“Our players are very resilient,” Brentwood head coach Ron Crawford said. “They’ve done a good job of not flinching and continuing to try to stay the course.”
Centennial dominated Brentwood with its ground attack in their first matchup, rushing for 371 yards and three touchdowns.
“The biggest thing for us has been putting on the film and letting our kids see the way they physically manhandled us,” Crawford said. “We’ve challenged our players to battle and fight harder. It has to be a total team effort.”
Running back Zyon Lee spearheads Centennial’s offense. He has 872 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
He accounted for 215 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the first game, including a 79-yard touchdown run just before halftime.
“We’ve been susceptible to big plays all year,” Crawford stated. “They had one right before the half and then it became long drives with us not being able to get off the field. We have to get them in some passing situations to have a chance.”
Centennial is the only team that’s held Brentwood under 33 points in its last eight games.
The Bruins’ explosive play on offensive has been keyed by quarterback Carson Shacklett.
The junior dual-threat has amassed 1,787 passing yards, 595 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns (15 run) this year.
“He presents a lot of problems,” Kriesky said. “He’s a very good runner; it’s like having another tailback back there. He’s also a very accurate passer. He’s able to make your defense stay honest. If you stack the box, he’s going to throw the ball. If you sit back in coverage, they’re going to run the ball on you. It’s difficult to prepare for him.”
Centennial’s defense allows an average of 13.92 points per game.
Safety Senturian DuReaux and linebackers Clay Carder and Tony Wall lead the unit.
Carder has a team-high 114 tackles, two sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery, while Wall’s accumulated 100 tackles (17 for loss), seven sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions.
DuReaux is the team’s top ballhawk. He has 101 tackles (12 for loss), five forced fumbles, three interceptions, two sacks and one fumble recovery.
The winner of Friday’s matchup will take on either Independence or Cane Ridge for a state championship berth.