November 9, 2013 - 1:33 am
Centennial seniors Lantz Worthington and Coll Thomson both said a preseason camp at Utah State had everything to do with the Bulldogs’ come-from-behind 28-17 victory at home against Legacy.
The Longhorns opened up a 17-0 lead in the first quarter Friday night, but neither Bulldog player panicked because they remembered from the camp how things can quickly turn around.
“Our first day of camp was brutal,” Thomson said. “We went out there and we weren’t ready for it, but the second day, we just picked it up. I don’t know what it was, something just clicked inside of us and we’ve been trying to run off that momentum the whole season.”
Said Worthington: “The second day (at camp) we just picked everything up. Tonight, we just brought it back to those memories. We came out here and executed and that’s when we begin to play Bulldog football.”
Centennial (5-4, 4-1) capitalized on four Legacy (6-3, 3-2) turnovers to score 28 unanswered points in the last three quarters. Worthington’s 91-yard run in the fourth quarter secured the Southwest Division’s No. 2 seed for the Bulldogs.
“They came out on fire, but we told our kids it was all on us,” Centennial coach Leon Evans said. “We (committed) two big turnovers and they capitalized on those things. You can’t do that against good football teams…We just kept with the game plan and kept pounding, kept pounding and we finally got (going).”
The first break came in the second quarter, when Legacy’s DeMichael Walker fumbled a punt inside the red zone and Centennial recovered at the Longhorns’ 16-yard line. Worthington was dropped for a six-yard loss on first down, but then Thomson hit tight end Joseph Ceniseros with a 19-yard strike to get the Bulldogs down to the four-yard line. A defensive penalty pushed the ball to the two-yard line, and then Thomson got the Bulldogs on the board with a two-yard plunge.
Trailing 17-7 late in the third quarter, Centennial got its next big opportunity after Hunter Brown intercepted Legacy’s Devin Williams, and put the Bulldogs in great field position. Four plays later, Thomson rolled to his right and found Ceniseros in the flat, resulting in a 22-yard touchdown.
“We kept trying to pass on them, but 24 (Legacy’s Casey Hughes) was just too fast,” Thomson said. “He was catching up to all our routes before we could get ‘em completed. So we just started to pound it up the middle on them until we could catch them off guard.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, Legacy looked like it would put the game out of reach when a Centennial punt went just 16 yards and the Longhorns got to start from the Bulldogs’ 28-yard line. On 2nd-and-goal, Williams scrambled to his right and was drilled by Justin Shellard, who knocked the ball loose. Brown recovered it at Centennial’s 9-yard-line for his second turnover recovery.
On the next play, Worthington broke free down the right sideline for a 91-yard touchdown run to give Centennial the lead for good.
“I had seen the middle open and meant to take it, but then it wasn’t there,” said Worthington, who finished with 125 yards on 13 carries. “As a running back, I just have to use my vision and use my speed and I got to the outside and it worked to my favor. And my line blocked great, so I gotta give it up to my linemen.”
The Bulldogs iced the game on their next possession, which began at the Longhorns’ 2-yard-line after a snap sailed over Legacy punter Julian Castro.
Thomson took it in on a quarterback keeper for his second touchdown.
“We’ve got a group of guys that never give up,” Thomson said. “They fight to the end, and we showed that tonight.”
Walker ran for 110 yards on 20 attempts and a touchdown, while Hughes rushed for 72 yards on 13 attempts and a touchdown to lead the Longhorns.
The win means Centennial will host Northwest No. 3 seed Shadow Ridge next week, while Southwest No. 3 seed Legacy will return to face Northwest No. 2 seed Arbor View in a rematch from earlier this season (the Longhorns won the annual Battle of the Bulls game at Arbor View, 7-0).