On Thursday, in front of the Cox 7 Arizona cameras, Centennial played a relatively clean game, in the heart of Scottsdale and soundly defeated Chaparral 41-14.
A ground attack from Zidane Thomas, Taylor Fiame, Alex Escobar, and Ruben Beltran controlled the clock. All four had a touchdown in the contest.
High school football is a learning curve week-by-week. Special teams has also shown improvement for the young Centennial (2-1) squad.
Coach Taylor accredited the “third unit” for the amazing field position most of the game. The Coyotes started in Chaparral (0-2) territory four times on the evening — one of which was the 4 yard line.
“Our defense set us up tonight pretty nicely. That always helps. Without a pick we capitalized off a few punt blocks and miscues,” Beltran said.
Their ability to strike quickly or slow and methodically has become apparent to the Pack fan base.
An opening Centennial drive of more than 5 and a half minutes produced just three points. However the host Firebirds appeared deflated.
After a quick three and out Fiame concluded a 6-play 71-yard drive with a five-yard burst to increase the lead to 10-0.
A 29-yard catch and run by Connor Sovacki set up an Escobar touchdown plunge just inside the pylon after taking a screen pass and scooting 33 yards. Thomas took the initial play after the blocked punt to make it 24-0 early in the second quarter.
Chaparral Coach Thomas Lewis, who coached from the press box, responded with by calling a 10-play, 82-yard possession. The home team’s best drive of the night, by far, concluded in a Alex Fernandez score.
The Coyotes defense tightened up after that. Beltran hit Fiame in stride for 49 yards and they added a field goal for good measure.
A bit quietly, the defending state champs have won their last two games by a collective 69-21.
Two short weeks and two victories later, Coach Taylor is more pleased.
“The two punting miscues combined with the squib kick recovery really played a factor tonight,” Taylor said. “We cleaned up a few things these past two contests. We’ll have to produce consistently as we get into region.”
Editor’s Note: Mr. Edgington is a student journalist at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.