Central Football Finishes Regular Season Strong with Win Against East Ridge but Loses in the First Round of Playoffs


Karleigh Schwarzl


Karleigh Schwarzl, Editor-In-Chief

On Friday, October 9 the Central Pounders hosted the East Ridge Pioneers at Central War Memorial Stadium. This game was senior night for the Pounders. Going into the game the Pounders were determined. This being a hard-fought game in the past the Pounders went into the game anticipating a win under their belt going into the first round of playoffs.

The Pounders went into the game strong, Ronye Watson returned the ball to the 35-yard line. Donovan Smith ran the ball into the endzone for a 63-yard run and the kick was good. This made the score 7-0, Central. The Pounder defense fought hard regaining possession. Michael Watson came out on the first play of the drive making a 14-yard run gaining the first down. The Pounders continued to go yard by yard to the goal line. Perry Armour ran the ball 18 yards downfield gaining the first down. Ronye Watson threw a 16-yard pass to Tyi Mosely. Central continued to make their way toward the goal. Ronye Watson and Tyi Mosely connected again making a touchdown for the Pounders. Making the score 13-0, without a good kick. At the end of the first quarter, the Pioneers gained possession and continued into the second quarter.

The Pioneers made a 2-yard run into the endzone for a touchdown. A failed two-point conversion made the score 13-6. The Pounders gained possession although did not hold onto the ball long before a fumble occurred and the Pioneers gained possession on the 25-yard line. The Pioneers capsulated off of this possession and continued to fight their way into the endzone earning a touchdown. This made the score 13-12, Central, with another failed extra-point attempt. Noah Collins started off the Central drive with a caught screen pass and a 32 yard gain. Michael Watson continued the momentum with a hard-fought first down. Michael Watson finished off the drive with a 30-yard run. The kick was also good, making the score 20-12. The Pounder defense continued to fight holding the Pioneers to four downs forcing a turnover. Larry Henderson caught the punt bringing the Pounders back to the 13-yard line. Noah Collins ran the ball into the endzone along with a good kick, the score was 27-12.

To start off the half the Pounders kicked the ball off to the Pioneers. Although the Pioneers continued to earn penalties making it first and 20. East Ridge threw the ball up and the Pounders intercepted but it ultimately resulted in a recovery made by the Pounders. Central came out on fire with a 21-yard pass to Noah Collins to earn the touchdown. The kick was also good making the score 34-12. The Pounders continued to pressure the East Ridge offense resulting in yet another turnover. Londen Martin intercepted the ball bringing the ball back to the Pounder 30-yard line. Central worked off of the momentum scoring within the drive. Michael Watson earned another touchdown, this made the score 41-12. The Central defense held the Pioneers forcing a turnover. However, the offense did not capitalize off of the power the defense gave, turning the ball over to East Ridge. Going into the fourth quarter the Pioneers had possession on the 19-yard line.

The Pioneers continued to fight their way through the line earning a touchdown making the score 41-18. In the second play of the drive, Ronye had a short pass to Donovan Smith who turned around and scored. This made the score 48-18. In the first play of the drive for East Ridge, Central forced a fumble regaining possession. Noah Collins had a 25-yard run to start off the drive for the Pounders. Issaiah Rogers ran the ball into the endzone for a touchdown, along with a good kick from Luis Fransisco the score 55-18. The Pounders came out on top against the Pioneers the final score being 55-18.

“We felt that we were unbeatable going into the Macon County game between chemistry, brotherhood, and our desire to go to state we had eyes set on the prize,” stated Donovan Smith.

The following week was a by-week for the Pounders as they went into the first round of playoffs. On Friday, November 5, Central traveled to Layfayette, Tennessee to take on the Macon County Tigers. The Pounders set up to receive the kick and returned the ball to the 38-yard line. The Pounders continued to go toward the goal line yard by yard until a 12-yard pass from Ronye Watson to Noah Collins to get Central into the red zone. Collins once again got ahold of the ball running the ball into the endzone for a Pounder touchdown but it was called back. However, Michael Watson continued to capitalize off of the play and score a touchdown. The Pounders went for a kick, although with a bad snap Central went for the two-point conversion but did not succeed. This made the score 6-0, Central. Going into the second quarter the Macon Tigers had possession.

Although the Pounders held them to four downs regaining possession. Central came out strong pushing forward to the goal line. Then Ronye Watson threw a slant to Donovan Smith earning another touchdown for the Pounders. Noah Collins took the handoff for the two-point conversion making the score   14-0, Central. The Tigers began to work their passing game within the drive earning a touchdown with three minutes left in the second quarter. Macon made the kick thus making the score 14-7. With Central in possession, it was third and eighteen Noah Collins was handed off the ball and fought hard for the first down. The Pounders continued toward the endzone when Ronye Watson came out of the backfield with the quarterback keeper to earn another Central touchdown. However, the extra point was no good, making the score 20-7. The Tigers ended the quarter with possession but the Pounders were still ahead.

In the second half against the Tigers, Central kicked off to Macon. The Tigers got possession of the ball on the Macon 39 yard line. With Macon on third down with twenty-two yards to go the Tigers threw up the ball on a trick play gaining a touchdown. The kick was good, making the score 26-14. The Tigers made an onside kick, although the Pounders held unto the ball sustaining possession. The Pounders came out strong on this drive starting off with a quarterback keeper gaining 34 yards on the play. Though the Pounders did not capitalize off of the play being set back with a penalty. The Pounders could not get the first down ultimately resulting in a turnover. The Pounder defense continued to hold them regaining possession for the offense. On the 39-yard line, the Pounders handed the ball off to Noah Collins finding an open path for a Central touchdown. However with a bad snap, the extra point was no good, this made the score 26-14. The Tigers came back for revenge on the first play of the drive Macon made 23 yards on a pass. On the 16 yard line, the Macon County Tigers threw a pass for a touchdown. This put the Tigers at 26-21 with four minutes left in the third quarter. Macon attempted another onside kick but the Pounders maintained possession.

The Pounders did not capitalize off of the possession and attempted a fake punt but did not succeed. The Tigers gained possession and on third down and five yards to go Macon County made a short pass to gain the touchdown and the lead. This put the score at 26-28, Macon County. The Tigers attempted an onside kick but did not succeed so Central gained possession on the Pounder 48-yard line. The Pounders did not maintain possession with a failed fake punt turning the ball over. The Tigers found an open lane taking the ball down to the 5-yard line, although the Pounder defense came out strong with fourth down and one yard to go Central held them regaining possession. Though in the Tiger endzone quarterback Ronye Watson threw up a pass to Tyi Mosely to gain 36 yards toward the Pounder end zone. Unfortunately, the Pounders did not capitalize off of the momentum resulting in a punt. Possession continued to go back and forth but ultimately Macon County ended the game in victory formation against the Central Pounders. The end score being 26-28, Macon County.

“Although the season did not end the way we wanted it to, I am extremely proud of the entire team and coaching staff. Most importantly I am very proud of or senior class and the leadership they showed all year,” stated Head Coach Curt Jones.

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