High school football: Rich Central downs Rich South
BY MATT BRUCE For Sun-Times Media October 1, 2011 12:04AM
Updated: November 11, 2011 5:35PM
It was a back-and-forth dogfight, but Rich Central was able to pull out a hardscrabble 21-12 Southland Conference victory over crosstown rival Rich South on Friday night at home.
The Olympians’ (3-3, 2-1) defense bent, but did not break, benefitting from costly South turnovers. On a soggy night, the Stars coughed up the ball five times and saw three of their marches up the field fall flat because of fumbles. Central capitalized, scoring 7 points off the miscues.
“Tonight we executed,” Central coach Terrell Alexander said. “I think they ran the ball pretty well. But we tried to avoid the big play as best we could. And that was the biggest thing.”
The Olympians scored on their first drive of the game, with Devonte Black connecting on an 18-yard strike to receiver Shawn Calhoun. South struck back early in the second frame as DeAndre Washington barreled in for a 4-yard touchdown to knot the score at 6.
Central wasted no time answering, responding with a Brandon Fowler touchdown run on its ensuing possession. The score was set up by a 52-yard catch by Fowler that set the Olympians up deep in South territory.
The Stars (2-4, 2-1) seemed poised to return the favor on the next drive, but quarterback Brendon Zachery was stripped near midfield, setting up a 13-yard touchdown run by James Thigpen that put Central up 21-6.
Another Stars drive just before the half ended in dismay, when Jaylen Zachery hauled in a 37-yard pass in Central territory but fumbled the ball.
“Usually you’re living on the edge in high school football with two (turnovers), and we had four or five,” South coach Bret Tucker said.
Washington was a man in the backfield for the Stars, grinding out 184 yards on 27 bruising carries. He scored South’s second TD on a 1-yard plow with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter.
But the 6-foot, 3-inch workhorse mishandled the handoff on a Stars possession midway through the fourth to stall South’s last threatening scoring drive.
“You could feel the momentum starting to change, and we dropped the ball,” Tucker said. “It’s plain and simple — you’re not going to win games if you have five turnovers.”
Thigpen led the Olympians with 84 yards on 19 rushes. Fowler snared six catches for 103 yards, while Black completed 14 of 19 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown.
“I loved the atmosphere,” Tucker said. “It’s a big rivalry. The kids really get fired up for this type of game.”