By Mark Clark
Just 9:59 into last Friday night’s game with R.E. Lee High of Montgomery, the Central High Red Devils found themselves in a rare situation – trailing an opponent. The Generals scored first in the game – the first time a team has led the Red Devils since the season-opening contest with Mays High of Atlanta – but, the lead lasted just three minutes and three seconds which was how long it took Central to drive 81 yards with its first offensive possession of the game to tie the game at 7-7. From there, the Red Devils went on to defeat the Generals 44-17 in a contest much closer than the final score indicated.
“We needed a four-quarter game and we got it tonight. Lee is a talented football team. They have some very good football players. We’ve had some good battles with them. But when you are a target and have the ranking we’ve got, every week people are going to come in and try to knock you off. We needed a little adversity to test us. Maybe we weren’t as sharp as we have been, but when you look at it, we had scored on every possession in the first half. The score was 23-7. They just all-out blitzed us in the second half and gave us some trouble. I’m proud of the way we handled it. I am proud of the win at home. I’m proud of the win on Senior Night. Now, we just have to get ready to play Jeff Davis next week. With next week’s game, we have two left,” Central coach Jamey DuBose said after the game.
After trailing, Red Devils scored on each possession
Central gave the Generals the opportunity to take a quick lead in the contest with a fumble on the opening kickoff. Red Devils running back A’Montae Spivey took a hit directly on the football as he returned the kick and it popped loose at the Central 27-yard-line. R.E. Lee recovered the fumble and drove for a touchdown, scoring on an 8-yard pass at 9:59 on the first quarter clock.
Central responded with a nine-play, 81-yard drive to tie the contest with 6:56 left in the first quarter. Peter Parrish, an LSU commit, hit Louis Hicks on a 30-yard touchdown pass. Noah Pell kicked the extra point to make the score 7-7.
The Red Devils took the lead with their next possession, driving 68 yards in six plays for another touchdown. Parrish scored on a 9-yard run with 3:19 left in the first quarter. A pass for a two-point conversion failed. Central led 13-7.
In the second quarter, Central extended its lead. First, after moving 58 yards in 11 plays, Pell booted a 36-yard field goal with 6:48 left in the half to make the score 15-7. Then the Red Devils went 57 yards in seven plays to score on a 2-yard run by Spivey. Again the pass failed on the conversion attempt, but Central took a 23-7 lead into the halftime intermission.
Central scored on all four of its first-half possession and rolled up 259 yards of offense while doing so. The Red Devils had 128 rushing yards and 131 passing yards. Parrish was a perfect 8-of-8 passing for 114 yards with the one touchdown toss to Hicks. Spivey led Central’s runners in the first half with 61 yards on nine carries.
The Red Devils defense held the Generals to 172 total yards – 79 yards on the ground and 93 through the air.
“Pete threw the ball well in the first half. We had him throw some short passes to give him some confidence and then he took over. Lee was giving us the short ones. They had two safeties back about twenty-five yards, so we knew we couldn’t get over the top on them. I have to admit Lee came in with good scheme against us. They blitzed us all night, run blitzed us all night. We had to take what they would give. I have to applaud our offensive staff and I applaud our guys on offense for sticking with what we had to do to get there,” DuBose said.
Third quarter belonged to R.E. Lee Generals
In the third quarter, Central’s offense sputtered. The first Central drive of the second half ended after driving from its own 22 to the Generals’ 31 with a failed field goal attempt. The Red Devils next possession ended on downs after driving from its 41 to the R.E. Lee 27.
While Central’s offense was having problems finishing drives as it had done in the first half, the Generals were not having such troubles. On its first possession of the second half, R.E. Lee opened up with a 53-yard pass to the Central 18. Four plays later, the Generals cut Central’s lead to 23-10 with a 36-yard field goal of their own with 9:53 on the clock.
After Central’s offense stalled at the R.E. Lee 27 and turned the ball over to the Generals, the Montgomery team needed only two plays to cover the distance. R.E. Lee running back Tedarrius Murray ate up the distance with two runs, the first for 66 yards and the last one for four yards for the points. With the extra-point kick, the Generals were down just 23-17 with 1:11 left in the third quarter.
“We moved the ball good in the second half, but we bogged down in the red zone. Penalties a couple of times and a couple of times on sacks, but when you look at the final score, it looks like we won handily. It was a struggle tonight, but it was a four-quarter game and I am proud we got it,” DuBose said.
Central pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 44-17
With R.E. Lee chipping away at the Central advantage, the Red Devils mounted am 80-yard drive of nine plays to push its lead to 29-17. Spivey scored his second touchdown of the night on a 3-yard run with 10:07 left in the game. The conversion failed.
Central defensive back Camyen Feagins set up the Red Devils’ next scoring opportunity with the interception of a R.E. Lee pass. Feagins’ interception came at the Central 27 after the Generals had moved from their own 20 to their 45 in four plays. The Red Devils took three plays to add to their lead. Tucker Melton teamed up with Deonte Williams on a 70-yard touchdown pass with 4:25 remaining to be played. Spivey ran for the conversion to give Central a 37-17 advantage.
Central scored once more before the contest ended. Parrish ran in from three yards out and Pell kicked the extra point to make the final score 44-17.
“We got this one. Now, we have two left to finish this thing. I told the kids to stay focused on our goal. If we can get a win next week, we will likely be playing Auburn in the last game to decide which team wins the region,” DuBose said.
Central will travel to Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl this week to face Jeff Davis High’s Volunteers. The kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on Friday.
Parrish ended the night with 139 yards passing while completing 11-of-14 passes and had a touchdown. Melton was 10-of-13 for 139 yards with a touchdown. Spivey led Central’s runners with 107 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion run. Williams had six catches for 107 yards with a touchdown. Central’s offense totaled 511 yards for the game while the Generals finished with 423 total yards. Murray led all runners with 175 yards on 17 carries for R.E. Lee. Penalty-wise, there were a total of 28 flags thrown in the contest. Central had 10 penalties accepted for 61 yards while the Generals had 13 penalties accepted for 123 yards. Each team had one turnover. The fumble on the opening kickoff recovered by the Generals was only the second turnover of the season for Central.