Momentum pushes Centre to 33-0 homecoming victory

October 20, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

If momentum matters, these are good times for Centre College.

The Colonels had more than enough momentum to bury Maryville Saturday, and they have momentum to burn as they move toward the most important game on their schedule.

The momentum of three scores in less than five minutes carried Centre to a 33-0 victory over Maryville (Tenn.) on Saturday.

And the momentum of two straight dominating performances and a season-long pattern of steady improvement is on Centre's side going into next weekend's game at Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference co-leader Trinity.


"We've got to continue to keep getting better," Centre coach Andy Frye said. "What happens next? I don't know."

What happened Saturday was that Centre (6-1) used its opponent's own mistakes against it to build a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, making for a happy homecoming day at Farris Stadium.

"I was hoping we could get some momentum from this homecoming win, and I think we did," Frye said.

Things didn't get out of hand in the fourth quarter as they did the previous week, when the Colonels gave up 41 points in the fourth quarter against Millsaps after building a 44-0 lead.

The Colonels didn't score in the second half, but they stopped Maryville (2-5) in Centre territory five times, and two of those stops were made by reserve units.

Meanwhile, the Centre offense rolled up 427 yards, raising its season average to 382 yards per game.

"I think our offense is finally coming together," said receiver Adam Schneider, who scored the Colonels' first two touchdowns. "Early in the year, we weren't putting the ball in the end zone very well. We've established the run, and that's giving us the pass."

Brian Behrendt threw touchdown passes to Schneider and Lorenzo Engleman, and Behrendt and Engleman each ran for scores.

"The offense is really starting to jell," Frye said. "That's the biggest thing that I've noticed."

Centre needed just four plays to cover 58 yards for its first score, the first of three touchdowns it would get in a span of 4:46.

A 16-yard run by Engleman and a 23-yard run by Bobby Gaffney helped move the ball to the Maryville 14-yard line. Behrendt threw from there to the 5-yard line to Schneider, who bounced off three different players - including one of his teammates - into the end zone.

"I got hit really hard from the side, and then another guy hit me from the other side and propped me straight back up," Schneider said.

Just over 90 seconds later, an interception by Chad Loveless gave Centre the ball at the Maryville 35.

Interception turns into touchdown

Four plays into that series, Behrendt was intercepted by Maryville's Dustin Rose at the 1-yard line. Rose started forward but then backtracked, running into a hit by Centre receiver Michael Swartzentruber near the goal line that knocked the ball loose, and Schneider fell on the ball in the end zone for the Colonels' second score.

Then came a short but high kickoff by Bennett Clark designed to attempt to create a special-teams turnover. It worked to perfection, as Ryan Roberts fumbled the catch and Nate Woodall recovered for Centre at the Maryville 29.

Five plays later, a shovel pass from Behrendt to Engleman became a 17-yard scoring play that gave the Colonels a 21-0 lead.

Centre scored twice more before halftime, by which time it had outgained Maryville 306 yards to 98.

"Our defense did what they always do, getting their offense off the field. They gave us the momentum to get to the end zone," Schneider said.

John Ortega led that defense with 10 tackles, followed by Nathan Fell with eight and Brian Downs with seven. Freshman Brian Dougherty had two sacks.

On offense, Engleman rushed for 89 yards and caught four passes for 53 more. Woodall had 58 yards rushing, all in the first quarter, and three other Colonels had more than 20.

Behrendt went 11-for-26 for 150 yards passing.

Backup quarterback Daniel Childs generated most of Maryville's offense with 82 yards passing and 43 yards rushing, but the Fighting Scots didn't have much fight left after five turnovers.

With its last non-conference game behind it, Centre can now focus on trying to topple Trinity, which has won or shared 10 straight conference titles.

"Now we can concentrate on trying to win a conference championship," Frye said.

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