Centennial Undone By Centennial

Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers.

They can make a team look unprepared, indecisive and even incompetent — words never associated with Corona Centennial football.

But in the first half vs. Concord De La Salle on Saturday night, the Huskies turned the ball over three times and trailed 28-0 before finally getting on the scoreboard with less than a minute left in the first half.

The miscues started when John Plattenburg muffed the opening kickoff but recovered enough to pin Centennial inside its own 5. Unable to extend much of a drive beyond its own 25, Rigo Luna was brought into punt but did not get his hands on the snap. De La Salle recovered and quickly turned it into seven points.

It was clear then that the ‘Dawgs’ were in trouble.

The Huskies were stuffed on fourth down on their next drive and it wasn’t long before De La Salle scored again behind its powerful offensive line led by (among others) Larry Allen Jr., son of the former NFL All-Pro. Coach Bob Ladoucer was not afraid to hand the ball to Tiapepe Vitale behind that line and it worked because Centennial was really getting pushed around, and that hadn’t happened all season but in a few brief spots. To wit: Centennial trailed by 14 points just once all season and that vs. Riverside King when the Wolves went on the road and surprised the Big VIII League champs for a few minutes before the Huskies got their act together.

It wasn’t going to be like Week 7 vs. De La Salle, the reigning four-time defending CIF-State champions and arguably one of the best programs in the country.

Umm, no. Not at all.

Centennial got the ball back but just as soon as Robert Webber and Co. started to move the ball, the junior QB fumbled it on a run inside De La Salle’s 40. Aside from halting any momentum that was gained, Webber’s turnover was a total buzz kill. There was a glint of hope, a spark, but it faded when the ball bounced off his knee and hit the turf.

De La Salle scored once again to rub a little salt in the Huskies fresh wound. Webber, usually full of bravado, looked like he actually needed some counseling. Centennial was losing 21-0, and badly.

Forced to punt, Luna actually got off a good one and the defense — placed into almost impossible situations from the start — had decent field position and held De La Salle for the first time.

The Spartans punted but Chase Krivishei, owner of the Huskies’ single-season receptions record, took his eyes off the ball even though he signaled for fair catch. It was his first touch of the game, and the ball went right through his hands, squirting into the arms of an oncoming De La Salle player.

And guess what? De Salle scored points again. Surprise. 28-0!

Forget this season, Centennial hadn’t trailed 28-0 who the heck knows?

Finally (mercifully?), the Huskies offense held on to the ball long enough put some points up with 38 seconds remaining in the first half. Tre Watson ran for a couple of long gains to set up a 1-yard punch by Austin Renken.

Webber and Krivishei took some deep breaths at halftime, and the pair connected on a 62-yard touchdown play on the Huskies’ first drive of the third quarter.

Centennial’s defense was up to the challenge on De La Salle’s next drive but was pinned inside its 5 again by a terrific squib punt by Spartans QB Gary¬†Williams.

Webber and Krivishei hooked up over the top for a big gain to get out of a bad spot, but the receiver was spun around and let go of the ball, turning the ball over for a second time.

You can guess what happened next. That’s right. De. La. Salle. Scored.

It seemed that for every action, De La Salle had an equal an opposite reaction.

Centennial got the ball back and put together another scoring drive but De La Salle went down and scored again. The Huskies scored again to make it 42-28 but De La Salle’s defense hung tough while the Spartans’ offense ran the ball and chewed clock.

All De La Salle had to do was wait for Webber, who finished with three passing TDs, to throw a ball into traffic. He did, and with less than four minutes left in the game Webber was picked off for just the fifth time this season.

And guess what? De La Salle scored. Yet again.

Five turnovers. Webber and Krivashei with two apiece.

So maybe Centennial (13-2) wasn’t altogether unprepared, indecisive or incompetent on Saturday night.

Just uncharacteristic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: