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Centerville dominates Hawkins in 49-14 area victory

Centerville dominates Hawkins in 49-14 area victory

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PALESTINE — The Centerville Tigers are running roughshod through the Class 2A Division I playoffs like they did in district play.

Paxton Hancock and Andrew Newman both topped 100 yards rushing as the Tigers rolled to a 49-14 victory over the Hawkins Hawks in area playoff action Friday night at Panther Stadium.

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Hancock had 181 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries, and Newman added 101 yards and a score on 11 carries as Centerville (11-1) matched the school record for victories in a season. The Tigers move on to regionals to play Holland, which advanced with a 26-17 victory over Shelbyville.

Centerville’s game was never close, because it dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for 382 yards on 46 carries. The Tigers were coming off a 34-7 bi-district victory over Rosebud-Lott in which they rushed for 311 yards.

“It starts up front,” Centerville head coach Kyle Hardee said. “Our kids sell out on blocking, and we play a physical brand of football. That’s what we have to do to be successful, and we take care of the football. The credit goes to the kids.”

Centerville smoothly took a 28-0 halftime lead. It then took the Tigers only two plays in the third quarter to make it 35-0. Hancock ran 60 yards for the touchdown, dashing around the left side and cutting back across the field.

“He’s an outstanding high school football player,” Hardee said. “And we have some other backs to go with him. The great thing about them is they’re unselfish. They play for each other.”

After Centerville linebacker Angel Villarreal recovered a fumble, the game’s lone turnover, Hancock followed his line for a 6-yard touchdown run for a 42-8 lead with 3 minutes, 53 seconds left in the third quarter.

“Our line came out hitting and blocking,” Hancock said. “I was happy [with my performance], but I was more hyped up that my line was happier.” Centerville junior Dude West and senior BJ Kelly play guard with junior Tanner Welch at center and sophomores James Wright and Keaton Crowley at tackle. Cameron Pate and Zantayl Holley also play key roles as blocking tight ends.

Centerville established its power running game early and added big plays on the perimeter in overmatching Hawkins (7-5). The Tigers didn’t punt in the first half and piled up 247 yards behind Hancock and Newman, who each scored a touchdown before halftime.

Hancock opened the scoring with a 23-yard run to cap a seven-play, 81-yard drive. Hawkins defensive back Brenden Elkins got his hands on Hancock at the Hawks’ 15-yard line, but the hard-churning, 6-foot, 185-pounder broke free. Newman later dashed 10 yards around the left side for a TD to end a 13-play, 73-yard drive as the Tigers overcame back-to-back penalties on the possession.

Centerville converted fourth downs on its first two TD drives. Hancock, the blocking back for the punter, took the snap and converted the fourth-and-10 with a 13-yard run. On the next possession, Tiger quarterback Sully Hill followed center Tanner Welch for a 9-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the Centerville 36.

Hawkins wasn’t as fortunate on its fourth-down gambles, getting stopped three times in the first half, including twice at its own 43. Centerville’s Cooper Fisher and Hancock teamed up on the first stop at the 43 and defensive tackle Kelly led the surge on the second stop at the 43.

It took Centerville only four plays to cover the first 43 yards with Hill sneaking in from the 1 for the score. Senior Tyrese White, who played in the band last year after missing his sophomore season with an injury, sprinted 46 yards on his only carry of the first half with 64 seconds left as the Tigers overcame their fifth penalty of the game.

Centerville freshman Jake Pineda kicked seven extra points and junior Zach Taylor averaged 54 on two points with both rolling to the Hawkins’ 1-yard line.

Centerville’s final touchdown was a 9-yard reception by sophomore Cade Smith from Hill.

Hawkins used two quarterbacks, one to run the spread and the other under center, but the emphasis was on the run in both formations. Kayden Upchurch and Jeramy Torres, a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, had a few nice runs, but combined for only 100 yards on 23 carries. Hawkins did rush for 164 yards, but completed only 3 of 11 passes for 32 yards.

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