Center's football season ends with playoff loss to Silsbee
Please see our Wednesday print edition for additional coverage, including our interview with head coach Barry Bowman about the 2017 season.
NACOGDOCHES – The Center High School Roughriders fairy-tale ride into the UIL 4A-Div. 1 football playoffs came to a screeching halt against the harsh reality of the Silsbee Tigers' rushing attack and swarming defense.
The Roughriders (3-8), the fourth-place team from District 9, had no answers against the District 10 champion Tigers (6-4) in a 37-17 loss Friday night at Nacogdoches.
Silsbee advances to face Bay City Friday.
It was just two weeks ago that Center upset top-10 district foe Kilgore by erasing a 28-0 deficit in route to a 49-35 win. The win, plus Henderson win over Palestine one week later, propelled Center into the playoffs.
Given Silsbee's modest 5-4 record, many Roughrider faithful thought the team's performance within its “district of doom” might be a first-round upset was imminent.
But Silsbee's relentless running attack chewed up the clock while the defense had Center sophomore quarterback Jayden Hicks running to his life throughout the game.
The Tigers had three runners finish with more than 100 yards and unofficially had 447 rushing yards and 493 total yards for the game.
Center, meanwhile managed just 104 yards rushing and 88 passing.
"I was disappointed that we didn't make enough plays tonight," said head coach Barry Bowman. "I think our lack of size and strength showed up -- especially in the interior line tonight."
Yet, Center had its chances in the first half. Of its six drives in the half, Center started three in Silsbee territory. The other three started on Center's 20, 27 and 31.
The Roughriders opened the game with a successful onside kick recovered by junior Chris Jackson on the Silsbee 48. Center was unable to move the ball with two incomplete passes and a run for a loss of three yards. Center punted, putting Silsbee on its own 17.
Silsbee immediately mounted a 83-yard, 8-play drive capped by a 34-yard run Christopher Martin to make the score 7-0. Martin had 103 of his 128 rushing yards in the first half.
Center punted after running five plays and recording one first down on its next drive.
The Roughrider defense forced Silsbee to punt after just three plays, thanks to a 12-yard sack of quarterback Jacob Collins by Freshman Jake Liker.
The punt was shanked, giving Center the ball on Silsbee's 43. But Center couldn't capitalize, losing 6 yards over the next three plays and punting.
Starting from its own 10 with 1:22 left in the quarter, Silsbee drove 90-yards for another score to go up 14-0. The 11-play drive ate up five minutes off the clock.
Center again punted after three plays and no yards gained.
Silsbee scored again with a 76-yard drive. The point-after was no good, leaving the score ay 20-0 with 4:48 to go in the half.
The Roughriders used Hicks' 31-yard pass to Kaleb Parks and a 15-yard flag for a horse-collar tackle to reach the Silsbee 23. But a two sacks left the Riders with a fourth-and-10 from the 31. Hicks went for broke, but his pass for Jaterious Evans was too high in the back of the end zone, ending the drive.
Two plays later, Center freshman Marques Hall picked off Collins to give the Roughriders the ball on the Silsbee 38 with 1:08 left in the half.
This time, the Riders were able to score with Hicks' runs of 14 and 18 yards setting up Hall's 11-yard touchdown run. With 14 seconds left, Center pulled to 20-7.
Center nearly made it 20-14 when, on the half's final play, Evans intercept Collins near the Center three and returned it more than 90 yards – getting pushed out of bounds three yards short of the end zone.
The teams traded punts to open the second half. Center started its second possession on the Silsbee 48 and drove to the seven-yard line as junior running back Katavius Evans gained 27 yards on his first two carries of the night.
But, with a fourth-and-three from the seven, Center settled for Alexis Lopez' field goals to make it 20-10.
Silsbee responded by using Dralyn Taylor's 68-yard to set up his two-yard scoring dash to make it 27-10.
Center, helped by two Silsbee penalties, drove 54 yards in nine plays to pull back within 10, 27-17, on Hicks' 13-yard touchdown with 36 seconds left in the third quarter.
Center tried another onside kick, but it was recovered by Silsbee. Capitalizing on the short field, the Tigers drove to the Center 23 before the defense tightened and settling for a 33-yard filed goal to make it 30-13 with less than eight minutes in the game.
Silsbee sealed the win when Collins went up the middle for a 44-yard touchdown for the final 37-17 margin.
Hicks led Center with 40 yards on 17 carries -- most of which were sacks or scrambled from the pockets as seven of those carries for for a loss or no gain. He completed just 6-of-21 passes for 88 yards.
Marques Hall finsihed with just 12 yards on seven carries. Katavius Evans had 35 yards on four carries.
In their final games form Center, seniors Kaleb Parks had one catch for 31 yards and Jaterious Evans had 45 yards on two catches.
District 9 other three playoff teams -- Carthage, Kilgore and Henderson -- each advanced.
Here is the link to the 4A playoff bracket:
Last week’s playoff games
• Silsbee 37, Center 17
• Carthage 46, Huffman Hargrave 10
• Henderson 31, Navasota 24
• Kilgore 49, Little Cypress 0
This week's Region 3 playoff games
• Carthage vs. Brazosport
• Henderson vs. Sealy
• Kilgore vs. El Campo
• Silsbee vs. Bay City
S: Christopher Martin 34-yard run. PAT good. 7-0 7:46
S: Christopher Martin 4-yard run. PAT good. 14-0 8:41
S: Jacob Collins 19-yard pass to Kalon Foster. PAT no good. 20-0
C: Marques Hall 11-yard run. PAT good. 20-7 :14
C: Alexis Lopez 17-yard field goal. 20-10 4:47
S: Dralyn Taylor 2-yard run. PAT good. 27-10 3:30
C: Jauden Hicks 13-yard run. PAT good. 27-17 :36
S: 36-yard field goal. 30-17 7:36
S: Collins 44-yard touchdown. 37-17
Final 4A-Div. I District 9 Standings
Carthage 6-0, 10-0
Kilgore 4-2, 7-3
Henderson 4-2, 7-3
Center, 3-3, 3-7
Palestine 2-4, 3-7
Bullard 2-4, 3-7
Chapel Hill 0-6, 3-7
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 L vs. Carthage* 42-12
Oct. 27 L @ Henderson* 27-14
Nov. 3 W vs. Kilgore* 49-35
Nov. 10 BYE
Nov. 17 L vs. Silsbee*** 37-17
*** Playoff game