Centreville Academy wins state championship
Published 1:14 am Saturday, December 1, 2007
CLINTON — Centreville Academy had plenty of chances to fold in the MPSA Class AA State Championship game.
But the Tigers leaned on a pair of running backs and a stout defense to pick themselves back up from a 21-7 second quarter hole and rally for a 36-21 win over Marshall Academy to win their seventh state championship.
“We wouldn’t quit no matter what,” Centreville coach Bill Hurst said. “We kept fighting and refused to give up.”
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The comeback was led by the legs of sophomore Zach Sinclair, who rushed 31 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns and senior Nick Goudeau, who rushed 21 times for 115 yards.
Sinclair, especially, was spectacular. He had one of the best performances of his carer, refusing to go down on first, second or even third contact.
He then celebrated the victory by doing a break dance on the 50-yard line.
“I wanted this so bad,” Sinclair said. “We’ve been working all year for this and finally got it.”
And about his dance moves?
“It was a little sloppy,” Sinclair said. “I can’t do it that well with pads on.”
It didn’t look like the Tigers would do much celebrating at all after the first quarter and a half.
Marshall Academy quarterback Brent Adams, the brother of Ole Miss signal-caller Seth Adams, befuddled the Centreville defense with his arm and legs.
Adams ran for two early touchdowns, the first on an 11-yard scamper and the second on a 43-jaunt down the sidelines.
Throw In a Wesley Harris 52-yard touchdown run off of a reverse and Marshall had a 21-7 lead late In the second quarter.
Sinclair had scored Centreville’s only touchdown up to that point on a 6-yard run midway through the second period and with time winding down In the half, he carried them to another score.
The sophomore rushed six times for 54 yards on the drive, Includeing a 16-yard run that drew the Tigers to within 21-14 with 19 seconds remaining In the half.
“He’s so strong In the legs and quick as a cat,” Hurst said of Sinclair. “He’s got a lot of ability.”
Centreville got the ball first to start the second half In what Hurst called the most Important drive of the game.
“I told the team at halftime we had to score on the first drive,” Hurst said. “I felt that If we scored on the first drive, we could beat them, If we didn’t, we’d have a hard road.”
The Tiger players apparently listened to their veteran coach, as they needed only eight plays to score a touchdown, capped off when Goudeau plunged In from a yard away.
Kyle Brown’s extra point was blocked, however, and Marshall still led by one point.
After punting on their next two possessions, the Tigers began their drive to a state championship on their own 45-yard line with 10:12 left In the game.
After seven running plays got the ball down to the 25-yard line on fourth and one, the Tigers faced their biggest play of the season.
They gave the ball to Sinclair on a trap play and he struggled for every Inch he could get.
With the season hanging In the balance, the chains were brought out, which showed the Tigers had made the first down by the nose of the ball.
“I didn’t know whether we had made It or not,” Hurst said of the spot. “I’m just glad we got the first down.”
Inspired by the first down, the Tigers scored two plays later on a Goudeau 8-yard run. After Goudeau’s two-point conversion run, Centreville led by seven with 5:17 remaining.
Any chance Marshall had of winning went out the window on the ensuing kickoff when Tyler Childers fumbled and Cody Holmes recovered for Centreville.
Centreville put the game away a few plays later when Hunter Brabham recovered Sinclair’s fumble In the end zone with 1:30 left.
It Is Centreville’s seventh MPSA State Championship, but the first since 1999 and the players celebrated accordingly.
But while they were excited to be accepting their gold medals for winning the title, their minds were already turned towards next season.
“This Is the best feeling ever,” Sinclair said. “I want to get two more rings.”