Centreville defense stays hot with shutout win over Adams Christian

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 2004

CENTREVILLE &045; Don’t even try to compare Centreville Academy’s defense on Friday night with its defense from early in the season.

That’s when veteran head coach Bill Hurst will clear the air &045; there is no comparison.

The Tigers pitched a shutout against Adams Christian in a 14-0 decision in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs. After giving up points by the bushels earlier in the season, the Tigers now have given up 12 points in their last three games &045; enough to make any coach smile at this point in the season.

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It marked the end of the season for the Rebels, who made the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time in school history. The Tigers will host Oak Forest next week in the South State championship.

&uot;You can’t fault our effort,&uot; Adams head coach Keith Walters said. &uot;We just couldn’t make the mistakes we made. Centreville is good. They’re well-coached, and they don’t make the mistakes. This is a tough place to win &045; they don’t lose here often.&uot;

&uot;Our kids have nothing to be ashamed of. They’ll be all right. This will be one of my favorite teams because of all we went through. I’ll always remember them for that. We had a lot of them out there hurt (tonight).&uot;

The Rebels struggled moving the ball and couldn’t contain a steady blitz in the second half from the Tigers that made it difficult to do just about anything. Quarterback Timmy

Foster was thrown for a loss three times in the second half, hurried a bunch more and had to set out three plays three plays in the fourth quarter after taking a shot to the ribs.

All this from a defense that at some points earlier this season was having trouble stopping the run and asking the offense to out-score the opposition.

&uot;I don’t think you can really compare where they are now with the first of the year,&uot; Hurst said. &uot;They’ve really stepped up. We changed some personnel around. Our defense has been susceptible all year long. They’ve picked it up and really started making plays.&uot;

The Rebels had two chances to score in the first half but never got past the Centreville 38 in the second half. In their first drive of the second half the Rebels had their longest drive of the half by 14 plays and converting twice on fourth down.

On a big fourth-and-inches play Heath Williams barreled through for a first down, and the Rebels eventually got to the CA 38. That’s when a Foster pass went incomplete with just over five minutes left in the game.

&uot;We kept the pressure on him,&uot; said senior lineman Jake Peairs, who recovered a fumble in the third quarter. &uot;We kept pumped up the whole time. We really wanted to win. We were just pumped up the whole game, and it was a team effort. Everybody was ready to go, and we really wanted to win.&uot;

The Rebels lost two drives in the second half on a fumble, one coming just after Centreville’s second touchdown when Peairs came up with the ball at the Centreville 43. On their final possession Foster had the offense moving by connecting on passes of 15, 14 and 11 yards before hitting Ray Simpson on a fourth-and-13 situation, but the Tigers jarred the ball loose and recovered it.

&uot;I thought one of the keys to the game was how well they worked the pressure,&uot; Walters said. &uot;They did a really good job of bringing the pressure, and at times I thought we did a good job. They’ve got a pretty good defensive line, and 32 (A.J. Dooley) is hard to block.&uot;

Said Hurst: &uot;I thought our defense stepped up real well in the second half. They came off the ball, and Coach (Keith) Wicker did a good job. The defensive line stepped up and really put the pressure on them. And the linebackers did a good job, too.&uot;

The Rebels’ defense held Centreville and running back Blake Devall in check for most of the game as the senior finished with 133 yards on 27 carries. The Tigers found success with the passing game for both scores as Jennings Field hit Tal Priest for a 68-yard touchdown pass off play-action on second and 14 for a 7-0 lead with 11:11 left in the second.

Then Field hit Devall on a 34-yard pass that Rebel defensive back David Trisler tipped up but landed in the senior’s hands for a touchdown.

&uot;We caught some big passes,&uot; Hurst said. &uot;We were able to get in a couple of offensive sets. We stayed out of our normal run formation most of the first half, and we got back in it in the third quarter. We got them so conscious of the run, and Jennings threw the ball and Blake did a good job. The ball was tipped, and he concentrated and caught the ball.&uot;

The Rebels had two chances in the first half to punch it in but came up empty. Their second drive of the game stalled out at the Centreville 8 when Heath Williams was thrown for a loss on fourth and inches.

Foster later picked off a Field pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown, but the score was wiped off when the Rebels were called for blocking in the back.