Centennial scores 2nd straight victory over nationally ranked power

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer
Centennial showed for the second consecutive year why it is one of the top programs in the country by knocking off a nationally ranked opponent at home.
 
Last season, the Coyotes scored a 12-0 victory over nationally ranked St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida) and nearly had another shutout of a nationally ranked team in defeating Nevada Bishop Gorman 13-7 in front of a standing-room-only crowd Aug. 31 at Centennial High School.
“The kids played hard, as did Gorman, and we were very fortunate to come away with a victory,” Centennial head coach Richard Taylor said.
 
After a scoreless first half, Bishop Gorman opened the second half and marched down to the Coyotes’ 40-yard-line when quarterback Micah Bowens dropped back and fired a pass when Centennial’s Jaydin Young stepped in front of the pass and returned it back to the Gorman 30-yard-line.
 
Three plays later, running back Tawee Walker took a hand-off and rumbled up the middle, broke a tackle and spun to his left, before racing 23 yards into the end zone for the first score with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
 
Walker, who transferred from Mohave High School in Nevada, was eager for the matchup.

“It feels great to play against a bunch of my friends,” Walker said. “We knew this would be the toughest game of the year. We just had to compete. We watched a lot of film on them. We capitalized on their weaknesses.”
 
The Gaels had a chance to tie the game midway through the fourth when they faced a fourth and goal at the Coyotes’ 16-yard line. Bowens dropped back and, under pressure from three Centennial defenders, lofted a pass that was intercepted by Dylan Wampler and took the ball back 21 yards to end the Gaels’ drive.
 
“We knew this game was going to be a battle,” Wampler said. “They are an amazing team, and I was able to stop that drive with the help of my teammates.”
 
Centennial then used a methodical offense and marched 79 yards on 10 plays, ending when Walker scored on a 9-yard touchdown with 1:36 left in the game.
 
Bishop Gorman got the ball at its own 32-yard line and finally got its offense rolling as Bowens connected on completions of 15, 7 and 10 yards to get the ball down to the Coyotes’ 36-yard line. Bowens then connected on a 7-yard pass to Rome Odunze, and a 13-yard completion to Bam Amina put the ball down to the 9-yard line.
 
Two plays later, Bowens fired a pass over the middle to Odunze with 9 seconds left in the game.
 
On the kickoff, the Gaels attempted an on-side kick that went out of bounds to secure the Coyotes victory.
 
“We played hard, but we made some mistakes and were fortunate to come away with the victory,” Taylor said. “We have some work to do, but this is a big win for the kids.”
 
Walker led the Coyotes with 108 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Jonathan Miller passed for 121 yards in leading the offense. Jeiel Stark had three receptions for 57 yards and Jaydin Young added 29 receiving yards in the victory.
 
Taylor praised Walker after the big win over Bishop Gorman, which was ranked in the top 15 before the game.
 
“He played gutsy on both sides of ball, and this game was important because he knows a bunch of kids and his parents were here tonight,” Taylor said. “He played well and I am really proud of what he showed tonight.”
 
After the victory, Centennial moved to No. 10 in the national rankings while Bishop Gorman fell to No. 25, which Taylor referenced after the win.
 
“(Bishop Gorman) started out I think in the top 10 of the nation,” Taylor said. “I think we started out like in the 300s and now maybe we might move up to the 200s.”
 
SCORE BY QUARTERS
BISHOP GORMAN  00  00  07  07
CENTENNIAL          00  06  07  13

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