Centennial finally tops Wilde Lake

Eagles shut down Brown, score first win over Wildecats

Centennial 17 Wilde Lake 0

September 23, 2006|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun reporter

Wilde Lake has a storied football history, having won five state titles under 33rd-year coach Doug DuVall. Conversely, Centennial's futility had included a failure to post a victory over the DuVall-coached Wildecats since Centennial opened in 1976.

That changed with yesterday's 17-0, Howard County League shutout at Wilde Lake, executed under third-year coach Jamie Wagner, whose predecessor, 12-year Centennial coach Ed Holshue, watched from the stands.

"I've been part of this program for 10 years now, and this is sweet," said Wagner, 38, whose program had gone 6-23 over the past three seasons and had last experienced a winning record in 2001. "Ed brought me on board, and now, as head coach, I'm glad he was here to see this."

Centennial (2-1) entered the game with momentum from last week's upset of then-No. 4 Long Reach. Its game plan against Wilde Lake (2-1) was simple: Hit the Wildecats hard early and focus on their 6-foot-2, 225-pound big-play back, Zach Brown.

"We swarmed [Brown,] forced them to make someone else beat us," Eagles running back-defensive back Justin Harris said. "They expected our offense to [strictly run the ball], but our coaches spread me out in different places and set up some mismatches."

The first play by Centennial, which operates out of the run-oriented single wing, ended with Harris' 57-yard touchdown catch down the Wildecats' sideline from Owen Dresser. Dresser later found Harris on a 43-yard scoring pass for a 14-0 lead with 1:29 left in the first quarter.

A 31-yard run by Harris, who rushed for 95 yards, set up Mike Englehart's 31-yard field goal on the last play of the first half.

From there, the Eagles hammered away on the ground, generating 132 rushing yards in the second half behind 6-foot-7, 370-pound junior center Tim Thierer, Riley Fritts, Alex Miller, Andrew Spiegel, Joel Pallikal, Colin Moe and Matt Hein.

"We didn't even pass in the second half because our offensive line did an incredible job," said Alex Bechta, who finished with 143 rushing yards.

Centennial used ball control and a defense anchored by Miller and Mike Rossberg to limit Brown, who in the second half had only four carries for 8 of his 57 yards.

"Nothing was working for us on defense or offense - nothing," said Brown, whose team had 9 yards passing and 94 rushing.

"They hit us on the first play and we never recovered," DuVall said.

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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