Centreville two steps away from repeating

Published 12:40 am Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CENTREVILLE — Two rounds of MPSA Class AA playoffs have passed, and Centreville Academy is still well on its way to being the back-to-back state champion.

And the next team standing in the Tigers’ way is a familiar opponent, Oak Forest Academy.

The Yellow Jackets were the unlucky team to be defeated in Centreville head coach Bill Hurst’s 300th win on Oct. 17, falling 35-14.

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Assistant coach Brian Stutzman said the Tigers’ already know what to expect come Friday.

“We’re not going to change our game plan,” he said. “Everybody knows what we do, and we know what Oak Forest does. It’s just going to be a tough job on Friday.”

But the Yellow Jackets are familiar for another reason. Head coach Jason Brabham attended Centreville Academy and coached under Hurst for several years.

Stutzman said that gives both teams an advantage. Brabham is experienced with Hurst’s game style, but Hurst also taught Brabham most of what he knows.

Oak Forest defeated Trinity Episcopal 30-7 in round two this past Friday, but they fell to Bowling Green — which the Tigers beat 21-10 last week — by 20 points earlier this season.

“It’s hard to beat a good team twice,” Stutzman said. “We had to do that last week against Bowling Green, and that was a tough challenge. It’s an even steeper challenge this week against Oak Forest.”

The Yellow Jackets lost four of their first six games of the season, but finished 7-5 overall and 2-3 in District 5.

They won three of their last four games to close out the regular season, the only loss coming to Centreville, before defeating Central Private in the first round of the postseason.

“Jason’s made a lot of changes,” Stutzman said. “They’re playing with a lot of emotion, and they’re going to be tough to beat. They fly through the ball unlike any team we’ve seen this year. They’ve made a dramatic turnaround from week eight when we first saw them.”

Centreville is struggling on the offensive line after both Cody Roberts and Tyler Glasscock went down with injuries.

Stutzman said Daniel Perkins stepped up at the offensive guard position against Bowling Green last week, and Wesley Hastings is expected to do the same come Friday.

“They’ve been backups all season and they’ve filled in for us,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate this season in that they’ve got a lot of playing time and plenty of experience. We have confidence in them that they can take over.”

The Tigers will host Oak Forest as they have done in all rounds of the playoffs this season.

Stutzman said that advantage is key for the Tigers.

“There’s lots of tradition here at Centreville, and just being able to play at home with your home fans means a lot,” he said. “Not much changes for us here.”