Centreville takes first step to defending title

Published 1:32 am Saturday, November 7, 2009

CENTREVILLE — The Centreville Tigers began defense of their back-to-back MAIS Class AA state championship against a Glenbrook team that just a year ago played for the Class A state title.

In the first-ever meeting on the football field between the two schools Friday night, Centreville held off a furious second-half comeback attempt to defeat Glenbrook 46-38 to advance to the semifinal round of the Class AA South State Playoffs.

Next up for Centreville: the undefeated and top-ranked Brookhaven Academy Cougars, who took care of Silliman Institute 34-6.

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And indeed this was a game of momentum shifts. At one point in the second quarter, the Apaches from Minden, La., led the District 5-AA champions 14-10 before the Tigers scored 28 consecutive points to take what should have been a commanding 38-14 lead in the third quarter.

But Glenbrook answered with three touchdowns and three two-point conversions to make it a 38-38 ball game late in the fourth quarter. But then the Apaches could not stop Centreville running back Zach Sinclair, who finished off an amazing game with a 1-yard touchdown run and ensuing two-point conversion run with just 33 seconds left. That capped off a 9-play, 61-yard drive in which Sinclair have every yard – all on the ground – on every play.

Sinclair finished with 32 carries for 297 yards with six touchdowns and two two-point conversion runs. He scored 40 of the team’s 46 points.

Cliff Hurst scored five of the other six points on a 29-yard field goal with 6:05 to go in the first quarter and a two-point conversion run after Sinclair’s fifth touchdown of the game – a 67-yard run that gave Centreville (9-3) a 38-14 lead with 11:45 to go in the third quarter. Sinclair had touchdown runs of 6, 10, 4 and 5 yards in the first half. Gavin Travis made an extra point after Sinclair’s first touchdown run of the night.

But head coach Bill Hurst and his staff could not have been pleased with the team coming oh so close to blowing a 24-point lead early in the third quarter and having very few opportunities for its offense to touch the ball in the second half until the game-winning and season-saving drive.

Centreville’s defense, which very rarely give up that big of a lead, especially in the postseason, had its share of problems trying to contain Glenbrook quarterback Preston Wise, who completed 23 of 33 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns to go with two interceptions. Wise was also the Apaches’ leading rusher with 20 carries for 70 yards with a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs.

Wise had touchdown passes of 51 and 18 yards in the first half that helped give Glenbrook (7-4), the District 6-AA runner-up, a 14-10 lead with 9:59 remaining in the first half.

But it was his second-half heroics that almost allowed the Apaches to pull off a huge first-round upset. First, he threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to William Thompson, his second scoring reception of the game, and connected with Chandler Singleton on a 2-point conversion to cut Centreville’s lead to 38-22 with 7:20 left in the third quarter. Then his two short TD runs, along with a 2-point conversion run by Thompson and a 2-point conversion pass from Wise to Thompson, tied the game at 38-all with just 5:39 remaining.

Glenbrook outgained Centerville 460 yards to 390 yards and had 21 first downs to 15 for the Tigers, but the Apaches lost the turnover battle 2 to 1.