Opportunistic Centennial thumps Hammond, 34-15

A rebuilt offensive line is key to Eagles' 3-0 start


September 23, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

When Centennial football coach Ed Holshue tabulated the pluses and minuses of his team's winning performance against host Hammond yesterday, he liked what he saw, especially the 34-15 final score.

Centennial's rebuilt offensive line continues to meet the challenge, and an opportunistic defense created three decisive first-half turnovers as the Eagles improved to 3-0, their best start since 1994.

"Our line play has made the biggest difference this season, and their confidence continues to grow and grow," said Holshue, whose team won at Hammond for the first time in his 12 years as coach. "We weren't sure about the line because we had only one starting lineman [Brad Schroeder] back."

Any doubts about the line's talents have been erased.

"Our line was awesome today," said Centennial running back Pat Davis, who praised linemen Jolan Harris, Matt Barwick, Eric Meekins, Nelson Machado, Sean Garroway and Schroeder.

Davis, who rushed 10 times for 85 yards and one touchdown, sent four kickoffs to the end zone and punted well, giving the special teams a distinct leg up over Hammond (0-3).

Hammond quarterback Anthony Hunter fumbled on the Bears' first play from scrimmage. Barwick recovered it at Hammond's 18, setting up Centennial's first score.

Three plays later, Centennial quarterback Billy Brudis scored on an 8-yard run.

Hammond drove 67 yards in 13 plays to tie the score late in the first quarter, capped by Tye Muphy's 25-yard touchdown run off a draw play.

A 12-play, 70-yard touchdown drive by Centennial put the Eagles ahead to stay.

A 26-yard leaping pass reception at the 3-yard line by J.L. Feeley highlighted the series, and Davis' 3-yard touchdown run followed to make it 14-7.

On Hammond's next possession, Centennial's Andrew Cooke returned an interception 15 yards to Hammond's 11-yard line. That set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Brudis, and Centennial led at halftime 20-7.

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