KANSAS CITY — Smith-Cotton spent the past week studying film and laying out a game plan to combat the Center Yellowjackets’ speed and athleticism. There is a saying about “best laid plans.”
It took Center just one play to score on each of its first two possessions — touchdown runs of 37 yards and 48 yards, both by running back Cris Ferrer — as the Yellowjackets cruised to a 55-6 win over the Tigers. Center held a 42-6 lead at halftime, forcing a running clock for the second half.
S-C Head Coach Charlie McFail said Center’s initial scoring plays were “exactly what we were preparing for.”
“The first one we didn’t execute very well, we didn’t slide our defense like we were supposed to and didn’t run the blitz we had planned on,” McFail added. “On the second one, he just got through a couple of our kids. They did exactly what we worked on, what the film was, what we had practiced,”
It didn’t get any easier from there for the Tigers, whose lone score was by senior Trevon Franklin on an 80-yard kickoff return to get S-C back into the game at 14-6. Center responded with a march down the field capped by a seven-yard TD run by quarterback Jesse Stills. The Yellowjackets’ Jamal Winters intercepted S-C senior quarterback Brett Grupe on the Tigers’ next possession, and on the next play Nosa Ohanmu ran for a 53-yard TD.
“They played well. They have some good athletes and made some plays, and we didn’t match up with them,” McFail said.
S-C (1-8) suffered another setback late in the second quarter when senior running back Cameron Finley left the game with a leg injury and did not return.
“He’s banged up but I think he will be OK in a couple of weeks,” McFail said; S-C will face Fort Zumwalt North in two weeks in district play. “He got hurt last week against Clinton and we tried to rest him pretty much most of the week. He just got twisted on out here. Hopefully we’ll get him ready to go in two weeks.”
Junior running back Chase McMullin stepped up to carry the load and had some success in the third quarter, ripping off runs of 23 yards and 10 yards to help the Tigers push deep into Center’s end of the field before the drive stalled.
“I just did what I had to do. I got called up and did what (the coaches) asked me to do,” McMullin said. “At practice I used to just run straight downhill and run into the first person I saw. That doesn’t get as big of gains as (Coach McFail) or I want. So I have been working with (Offensive Coordinator Mike Franklin) and Cam on how to read blocks and how to cut to get a couple of extra yards each time I have the ball.”
With the regular season done and district playoffs looming in two weeks, McFail said the focus will be on addressing lapses on defense and plotting the best ways to stop Fort Zumwalt North’s offense.
“Our offense does some good things, we just have to get some blocks,” he said. “Tonight there were a couple of big holes, we just missed a couple of key blocks here and there. That’s a hard thing: There are 11 guys on the field but a lot of times it comes down to one guy missing a block and then that just kills the play.”