By David Wells
Centennial’s Week 1 matchup didn’t pit the Cougars against John Overton as much as it pitted them against running back Justin Martin.
Martin scored all four of the Bobcats’ touchdowns and rushed 11 times for 232 yards as Centennial fell 26-12 to John Overton at home.
Much like it did against Week 0 opponent Clarksville Northeast, Centennial (0-2) struggled to defend the run; however, Cougars head coach Brian Rector said that he was pleased with their effort.
“We’re young, and we’ve got some inexperience, but we fought like crazy tonight,” Rector said.
Running back Deon Sanders spearheaded Centennial’s rushing game, which carried the ball 42 times for 188 yards. Quarterback Owen Roth supplemented that by completing 15 of 29 passes for 160 yards with two picks and a touchdown.
Despite the respectable offensive numbers, Centennial had a difficult time scoring all night long, while the Bobcats (2-0) were able to score quickly.
After surrendering a 62-yard Martin touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, Centennial managed a trio of three first-half drives of 50 yards or more, but the Bobcats were unable to capitalize with touchdowns.
With 7:35 to play in the first quarter, Centennial drove 52 yards before Roth threw an interception to Martin.
Later, after forcing an Overton three-and-out, Centennial drove another 50 yards but turned the ball over on downs when kicker Nick Madonia’s 47-yard field goal attempt fell short.
The Bobcats finally got on the board late in the second quarter when Madonia put it through the uprights from 32 yards out to make it 13-3.
Madonia scored another field goal in the third quarter to tighten the gap to 13-6, but that was quickly negated on the ensuing kickoff. Joshua Stackhouse pitched the squib kick to Martin, who ran it back 80 yards for the touchdown and a 20-6 lead.
Centennial finally put a touchdown on the board on the last play of the game. Receiver Kevon Prince caught an 18-yard pass from Roth as regulation ended.
Centennial will face Brentwood High School next week, a team that also fell to 0-2 Friday night after losing 38-29 to Blackman High School. Kickoff for the Centennial-Brentwood game is at 7 p.m.