Block, Centreville prepare for playoffs

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CENTREVILLE — The Centreville Academy Tigers and Block Bears will continue their journey toward state championships in their respected divisions Friday.

The Tigers are just one win away from a return trip to the MAIS Class AA state championship game. The last remaining hurdle on their path is the Canton Academy Panthers.

On Friday night at 7 p.m., the top-seeded Tigers will play host to the fifth-seeded Panthers in the state semifinal round. Centreville should not take Canton Academy lightly. The Panthers are coming off a stunning 35-13 road win over fourth-seeded and then-undefeated Riverfield Academy.

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“This is the next step. This is the most important game for us all year,” Centreville assistant coach Brian Stutzman said. “If we want to play for the state championship, we’ve got to win this game Friday night. It’s how important this is.”

Centreville Academy (11-1) took care of business last week by defeating No. 9 seed River Oaks School 52-20. In that game, the Tigers had a good balance of running and passing — 205 total rushing yards and 130 passing yards from quarterback Casey Haygood.

But the Tigers know the road to the state title game could be much tougher this week against an upset-minded Panthers team.

“They’re a very fast team. They have a lot of athletes. Very good offensively,” Stutzman said. “They run out of the spread offense. Their quarterback, No. 4 (Gerrod Anderson), presents a challenge for our defense, and they’ve got several running backs. No. 16 (Tanner Tate) is their fullback. He runs a lot of speed sweeps and traps. They can both fly.”

Which means that the Tigers’ defense, led by Parker Doughty, Matt Darden, and Sean Perry cannot afford any missed assignments or missed tackles.

As for what kind of defense Centreville’s offense will go up against, Stutzman said, “Anywhere from a 4 (-man front) to a 6 (-man front). As a unit, they’re fast. They’ve got several athletes that fly to the ball. We’re going to have to keep them in check.”

Centreville will counter not only with a solid passing game with Haygood throwing the ball to Tyler Caston and Jordan Clark, but an emerging running attack led by Chase Hughes, Austen Addington and John Marcus McDowell.

“We are for the most part healthy. We’ve got some nagging injuries that are typical for this time of year,” Stutzman said.

North Central at Block

JONESVILLE — The Block High School Bears didn’t get much love from the committee that determines the seeding for the LHSAA football playoffs. Despite finishing second behind St. Mary’s with a 4-1 record in LHSAA District 3-1A, Block only went up one spot from No. 12 to No. 11 after a 42-15 win over LaSalle High School.

Which means that Block (5-5) will play host to a North Central Hurricanes team that somehow ended up with the No. 22 seed despite going 1-9 overall and 0-4 in District 5-1A Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

And that is something that Bears head coach Benny Vault Jr. is not at all happy about.

“Actually, hosting a first-round game, you’re losing money (at the gate). I don’t like the system. If you’re 0-10 or 1-9, you don’t deserve the postseason,” Vault said.

Vault added that he doesn’t know too much about North Central, which is located in Lebeau, La., and has not won a game since defeating Gueydan back on Sept. 26.

“I know the basketball team has some good athletes. I’m pretty sure they’ve got some good athletes on the football team,” Vault said. “I know they try to run the spread offense. They probably run a 4-3 (defense) and a lot of man-to-man. They’ve got like 12 of 13 players. Someone gave me a tape on their first game of the season, and they only dressed 16 people. We’ve got things to work on to try to get better.”

Block is led on offense by quarterback Vyn’Quez O’steen go with a power running game led by and offensive line that opens holes for Taylor Perron-Krause, Raymond Plummer and Kendrick Curry.

The Bears’ defense not only likes to put pressure on the quarterback to make the opposing offense one-dimensional, but also forces turnovers. Last Friday night, they came up with four takeaways.

Another thing Vault said he does not like about the current playoff system is the split between non-select and select schools. He said he would like to see them joined again so that teams with losing records would no longer be a part of the postseason.

Even though Block took care of Logansport three weeks earlier, the Tigers actually finished ahead of the Bears in the Class 1A bracket at the No. 10 seed even though they finished in third place in District 3-1A with a 3-2 record. However, Vault said that is because the Tigers had more total wins (six) than the Bears had (five).

“There are just 24 teams in 1A because they do the split. You get 10 points for every win (referring to how Logansport got a higher seed than Block),” Vault said.

Despite the confusion and controversy involving where Block is seeded, Vault said he is pleased with how his team has been playing the last month, and he wants to see that continue in the playoffs.

“We’re just trying to eliminate our mistakes,” Vault said. “We’ve got better with our penalties. We’ve got better with our turnovers. We’ve gotten back to playing physical football.”