Central’s Football Season Ends with a Loss Against Rival Hixson

CENTRAL FOOTBALL LOSES IN THE LAST GAME OF THE SEASON TO THE HIXSON WILDCATS -- Junior Noah Collins stiff arms a lineman as he runs the ball down the field.

Karleigh Schwarzl

CENTRAL FOOTBALL LOSES IN THE LAST GAME OF THE SEASON TO THE HIXSON WILDCATS — Junior Noah Collins stiff arms a lineman as he runs the ball down the field.

Karleigh Schwarzl, Sports Editor

On Friday, October 23, the Central Pounders played against the Hixson High School Wildcats on their home field. Hixson one of the Pounders’ rivals, so this was a big game for Central. Hixson went into the game with a record of 1-3 within the region, achieving their regional win in a shutout win against Sequoyah. Central came into the game with a record of 1-4 within the region. Their regional win was also against Sequoyah. Entering the game, the team knew that this game was going to be highly competitive. Central had been looking towards this game all year.

Before the game began, Senior Kenny Shadden, the team captain for the night, approached the center of the field. He won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball. The Pounders started the game on the 34 yard line. Junior Noah Collins made a long break-out run down the field, earning a first down. The Pounders continued to push forward, but one bad snap sent the Pounders back 10 yards. The Pounders attempted to regain momentum, but the fell short and were forced to punt. Hixson started their first drive with the ball on the 21 yard line. Their running back was able to earn significant yardage. The Wildcats fell short of the goal line, turning to their kicker. Hixson would convert the field goal, making the score 0-3. On the kickoff return, Central fumbled the ball, and the Wildcats recovered the ball. The Pounders’ defense continued to fight hard. Sophomore Tyler Patillo sacked Hixson’s quarterback, and Central was able to hold Hixson to four downs. After Central regained possession, they could not earn a first down, resulting in a turnover. On Hixson’s next drive, their running back broke loose down the field. Sophomore Noah Collins was able to stop him short of the goal line. Although Collins stopped the touchdown, the Wildcats were still in great scoring position. Hixson ran the ball into the end zone after a few plays; this made the score 0-10. A few plays into the next drive, Junior Michael Watson ran the ball down the middle, earning significant yardage. The Pounders continued to push forward, but the team did not keep possession. To end the first quarter, Junior Maurice Williams sacked Hixson’s quarterback.

The Pounders started the second quarter off by shutting down Hixson’s offense. Central were not able to capitalize on their next possession, turning the ball over to Hixson again. The Wildcat’s running back made another break-out play, but he was tackled short of the end zone. However, the Wildcats scored on the next play of the drive, making the score 0-17. Yet again, Central’s offense could not capitalize off on their possession. Hixson continued to slowly chip away at Central’s defense and crept towards the end zone. Before they could score again, Hixson fumbled the ball, and the Pounders recovered it. On the first play of the drive, Michael Watson broke through the line, and he was tackled just seven yards short of the goal line. The Pounders could not score before the half came to a close. The score was still 0-17 heading into the intermission.

“I am proud at how each week this team has continued to get better,” stated Coach Curt Jones.

The Wildcats received the ball going into the second half. Hixson’s wide receiver ran down the field expecting to score, but Sophomore Kyree Steward tackled, preventing the touchdown. The Wildcats fell a couple of yards short of the end zone, and the Pounders would take over on offense. Freshman Evan Schwarzl threw a pass to Junior Tyi Mosley, which ended in a huge gain. Central continued to push, but that push came to a halt when Hixson intercepted the ball. The Pounders were just 10 yards shy of the end zone. On the first play of their drive, Hixson ran the ball downfield, making it to the opposite 26 yard line. The Pounders continued to hold the Wildcats. Going into the fourth quarter, the score remained 0-17.

Hixson continued their possession at the start of fourth quarter. Within a few plays, Hixson threw a touchdown pass, but it was called back. This did not stop the Wildcats as they then ran the ball into the end zone on the next play, making the score 0-25. Senior Ethan Black received the kickoff and produced a 15-yard return. Central could do little on offense, and the ball was returned to the hands of the Wildcats. The Pounders rose to the challenge and shut down the Wildcats’ offense. Central regained possession fought hard to push the ball forward. Evan Schwarzl threw a pass to Senior Jacob Leftwich, which set up the Pounders on the 35 yard line. Penalties pushed the Pounders back, but the team would keep fighting. Schwarzl threw the ball to Tyi Mosley, getting Central back to the 40 yard line. Then, Schwarzl threw another pass to Leftwhich, who caught it in the end zone. Central did not convert the extra point, making the score 6-25. Hixson ended the game in possession, with both teams unable to score after the Pounders’ first touchdown.

“The team can improve by trusting and playing as a team. When the team began to hang their heads the atmosphere changed,” stated Watson.

On Friday, October 30, the Pounders expected to play Southeast Whitfield in Dalton, Georgia. This game was cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak that shutdown Southeast Whitfield for two weeks. This caused the game against Hixson to be the last game of the 2020-21 football season.

“I want to thank every person that has had a hand in helping me and our boys this season. I want to thank our QuarterBack Club for all of the pre-game meals. I want to say thank you to Mrs. Tiffany Schwarzl; none of this would have worked as well without your planning and preparation. Finally, I want to thank all the wives, not just Misty for allowing me to mentor kids and make them men, but to all of my assistant coaches’ wives for sharing your husband with me to support my mission,” stated Coach Curt Jones.

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