Center 40, Chapel Hill 28
The Riders managed to pull off a win in a must-win situation, defeating the Chapel Hill Bulldogs 40-28.
With the win, Center moved to 2-1 in 4A-Div. I District 9 play – good enough for a tie for second place with Kilgore.
If Center is to make the playoffs, they will need to win at least one of its next three games – a stretch that includes the top-ranked 4A teams with No. 1 Carthage, No. 10 Henderson and No. 8 Kilgore.
The Riders got off to a shaky start against Chapel Hill, with the Bulldogs managing to score a touchdown off a 70-yard interception return. The point-after attempt was good to put the Bulldogs up 7-0 with 7:20 left in the first quarter.
The Riders jumped back to score with 40 seconds left in the quarter as Jayden Hicks threw a 21-yard touchdown to Marquez Hall. Alexis Lopez hit the PAT to even the score.
The Riders started the second quarter unable reach the end zone in the red zone, as their drive stalled on the 9-yard line. Center settled for Lopez’ 24-yard field goal to push its lead to 10-7.
Nonetheless, the three points reflected head coach Barry Bowman stressing the importance of coming away with point after last week loss to Palestine saw several red-zone trips end with no points with 8:10 left in the second quarter.
The Roughriders didn’t wait for the red zone next time around, however, as Hicks threw an incredible 66-yard touchdown pass to Jaterious Evans. Lopez’s PAT made the score 17-7 with 4:20 left in the second quarter.
Lopez tacked on a 47-yard field goal to make the halftime score 20-7.
Going into the second half, the Bulldogs were determined to comeback. Only 50 seconds into the third quarter, the Bulldogs managed to score a 25-yard touchdown run to pull within 20-14.
Yet, with 8:25 left, Jamarh Johnson increased the Rider’s lead to 26-14 after scoring a 3-yard touchdown run. Lopez barely missed the point attempt.
With 4:32 remaining in the third, Hicks threws a 25-yard touchdown pass to Evans. Lopez’ PAT was good to make the Riders’ lead 33-14.
The Bulldogs responded with a 53-yard touchdown run to close to 33-21.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, Hicks threw a screaming 68-yard touchdown pass to another Evans -- Quatavious Evans. Lopez’ PAT pushed Center’s lead to 40-21.
In the waning seconds of the third quarter, the Bulldogs added an 11-yard touchdown run to make it 40-28.
The fourth quarter went scoreless and was played mostly in the middle of the field -- an anticlimactic end to a game the Riders got an absolutely needed win to keep their playoffs chances alive.
The Rider offense capitalized much better when it came to being in the red zone. They also were able to make some big runs and Hicks was able to throw some big passes.
The Riders have a greatly tough challenge ahead of them, playing the Carthage Bulldogs at home next Friday, October 20. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m.
2017 Center Roughriders
Sept. 1 L @ Rusk 48-21
Sept. 8 L vs. Gilmer 56-17
Sept. 15 L Gladewater 17-3**
Sept. 22 L @ Diboll 45-42
Sept. 29 W @ Bullard* 39-35
Oct. 6 L vs. Palestine* 42-21
Oct. 13 W @ Chapel Hill* 40-28
Oct. 20 vs. Carthage*
Oct. 27 @ Henderson*
Nov. 3 vs. Kilgore*
Nov. 10 BYE
* District game ** Homecoming
4A District 9 Standings
Carthage 2-0, 6-0
Kilgore 2-1, 5-2
Center, 2-1, 2-5
Henderson 1-1, 5-1
Palestine 1-2, 3-4
Bullard 1-1, 2-4
Chapel Hill 0-3, 3-4
Last week’s district games
Center 40, Chapel Hill 28
Carthage 50, Kilgore 20
Bullard 41, Palestine 21
Henderson: Bye week
This week’s games
Center vs. Carthage
Kilgore @ Henderson
Bullard @ Chapel Hill
Palestine: Bye week