Centre rallies, rolls in home opener

September 12, 2004|MARTY WARREN

Getting off to a sluggish start didn't seem to phase Centre College Saturday.

The Colonels, who led for most of the game last week at Bluffton, overcame a 14-0 deficit with an offense that produced over 500 yards total offense and went on to defeat Kenyon 54-27 at Farris Stadium.

Kenyon used a no huddle offense to grab a 14-0 lead with six minutes left in the first quarter, but Centre (1-1) dominated both sides of the football from that point on.

"We got off to a sluggish start, but we didn't make any adjustments to their no-huddle offense," Centre coach Andy Frye said. "We just started to think through what we had to do. We talked about intensity and we finally started to put things together. I was pleased with the way we battled back after getting behind 14-0."


Kenyon (0-1) took the opening kickoff at their own 35 and went 65 yards in 10 plays to score 4 1/2 minutes into the game. A 26-yard pass from Nick Stalick to Rafael Sanchez set the drive in motion, and the Lords got on the scoreboard when Stalick connected with Carlin Shoemaker on another 26-yard pass.

Adam Blandford's fumble was recovered by Kenyon's Matt Sanders on Centre's first possession at the Lords' 44, and Stalick began the drive with runs of 11 and 19 yards to the Centre 18. Four plays later, he connected with Phillip Waller from nine yards for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

"Going into the game we didn't know what Kenyon was going to do because we didn't have any film on them," Frye said. "The no-huddle was a little throw-off, and we had problems at first getting our signals in. They didn't do any grouping, and we couldn't get a feel for what they were doing offensively until the second quarter."

The Colonels got a 22-yard field goal from Chris Thompson and a 25-yard touchdown pass from Brian Behrendt to Michael Swartzentruber to trim the lead to 14-10 early in the second period. Kenyon got one of the scores back on a Stalick 1-yard quarterback sneak, but the Colonels countered with a pair of touchdown passes: one to David Crowley for 42 yards on a fly pattern and a 24-yard shovel pass to Blandford to lead 24-20 at the half.

Behrendt completed 18 of 29 passes

Behrendt completed 18 of 29 passes for 236 yards and four touchdowns, while Blandford and Nick Warren, who carried 13 times for 162 yards, each scored twice while subbing for starter Jeremy Britt, who injured his ankle last week and did not play.

"I thought Adam and Nick did a great job while Jeremy was out," Frye said. "I thought the offensive line did a superb job, too, of protecting Brian and opened some nice holes for our backs to run through. We started to get our push in the third quarter.

"We have to overcome four or five injuries that occurred last week and are still trying to get backups in position to continue to win. I'm pleased with the way the guys stepped in and did their job."

With the exception of one drive, Centre controlled the second half on both sides of the ball. Thompson's punt rolled out of bounds at the two after their first possession of the second half stalled and the Colonels recorded a safety when Kenyon punter John Currier couldn't handle a high snap from center in the end zone. Following the free kick, Blandford ran for 29 yards before Behrendt connected with David Crowley for a 12-yard touchdown pass and a 33-20 lead.

Kenyon closed the gap to 33-27 on a 65-yard, 12-play drive but Centre put the game away from that point on when Blandford scored on a 21-yard run and Warren scored twice - first from 11 yards and then on a 71-yard gallop down the sideline.

Now it's on to conference play for the Colonels, who travel to Rhodes next week.

"The kids want to get better every week and they will," Frye said. "We just need to get more kids healthy."

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