By JASON STRICKLAND (WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – The speedy and tough running attack of the Center Yellowjackets (4-1) proved to be too much for the Warrensburg Tigers (0-5) as they fell 35-7 in their Homecoming game Friday.
Center’s running back Gage King ran for a game-high 105 yards off only six carries. He ran for a 78-yard touchdown on the first play for Center after Warrensburg punted on its first possession.
“We were a little bit like deer in headlights at the beginning, and unfortunately they took advantage of that,” said head coach Scott Grinde.
Yellowjacket quarterback Ronnie Hill and running back Anthony Eskridge combined for 164 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries.
The 78-yard run made it 6-0 with 9:34 left in the first quarter. Two drives later, Center began on its own 5-yard line after a pooch punt by Tigers quarterback Brett Marr, but drove the 95 yards down the field to score a touchdown.
Eskridge scored from three yards out and converted the two-point try to make it 14-0 with 9:17 left in the second quarter.
Marr threw his only interception of the game on Warrensburg’s next drive, which allowed Center to begin the drive at the Tigers’ 23-yard line.
Hill then threw a 23-yard touchdown to Nick Williams to make it 21-0 with 8:12 remaining in the second quarter.
After a Warrensburg three-and-out, Center made it 28-0 with 4:57 left in the second quarter after a 20-yard touchdown run by Hill.
Center had its first of three turnovers of the game on their next drive as Brad Cox intercepted Hill’s pass with 52 seconds left in the first half, but Warrensburg failed to score before halftime.
Hill’s 68-yard run made it 35-0 with 9:43 left in the third quarter.
Warrensburg used Center’s second turnover of the game to get its only points of the game. The Yellowjackets muffed a Tigers punt, which was recovered by Warrensburg at the Center 30-yard line with 1:33 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers’ ensuing drive was capped off by a two-yard pass from Marr to fullback Kris Long with 10:27 left in the game.
Center turned the ball over on downs on its next drive, but Warrensburg punted on its next drive, which allowed Center to run out the clock on its ensuing drive.
Marr ended up with 33 yards off 4-of-10 passing. The leading rusher for the Tigers was Nowlin with 76 yards off 17 carries.
“He played well,” Grinde said. “There were a couple of runs I thought he didn’t hit it as hard as he could have, but for the most part he did a good job and made some plays, especially on the scoring drive that kept us going.”
The Tigers’ next game is at St. Pius X (0-6) next Friday.
“I know they are well coached,” Grinde said. “Coach (Rick) Byers does a tremendous job. I think it’s always tough to go up there and play. It’s a tough atmosphere. Their crowd is like right in your lap, but that’s football, you’ve got to be able to adapt to that and adjust to it and compete, and I now our guys will do that.”