WARNER âÂ€Â” Central felt good Friday night going on the road to face Warner, but that was before an early turnover enroute to a 28-7 loss to the Eagles.
The Tigers (1-1) had difficulty establishing the run in the first quarter, which concerned head coach Jeremy Thompson early.
“We started the game feeling good defensively. We turned the ball over and gave them a short field in the first quarter, which helped give them their first score off a turnover,” Thompson said. “We got the football and weren‚t able to get our run game going very well at all.”
There were some turnovers that became big plays, which helped Warner pull away. But other than that, both teams‚ defenses were pretty evenly matched.
“Defensively, we played really well. It‚s 13-7 right before the half. With I‚d say about 16 seconds to go before the half, it‚s 13-7, and [we] gave up a big pass play and they were able to make it 20-7 before the half. Really, in the first half, we gave up two big plays and gave them a short field to work with. You take a couple of those plays away, and it‚s definitely a different ball game in the first half.”
The Eagle‚s defense was able to keep Central from running the football, and even Tigers quarterback Joseph Lee had trouble scrambling, which is usually one of his strengths.
“We came out in the second half and they didn‚t score again until late in the fourth,” Thompson said. “Defensively, I felt like we played a pretty good football game, besides two plays.
“That‚s something that we‚ve gotta fix and get better. We played hard defensively and we gave ourselves a chance to win the football game. Just a couple of plays here and there was the big difference in it.”
After the Tigers‚ defense received numerous fouls the previous week, they worked on that and were much better in that regard Friday.
“Defensively, we did not have near the penalties that we had last week. We fixed that.”
However, the offense got most of the penalties this time around, with some that cost the Tigers trips to the endzone.
“We definitely had too many offensive penalties. We had two big plays called back, one on a drive where we were going in to score that put us behind the chains. They had a good defensive front. I give them a lot of credit, and that was something that gave us trouble,” Thompson said.
The Eagles‚ big plays Thursday‚s game against Roland, because Warner‚s got some speed, just like Roland, so the Tigers may have an idea of what needs work before that game.
“Their first two touchdowns came off a 47-yard scramble by the quarterback and about a 42-yard pass play, and we can‚t let that happen. But, it‚s back to work today. Roland‚s got a team with a lot of speed and they‚ve got weapons, and so we‚ve got to get back to work.
“On the ground, they were able to stop our run game, and both teams played very well defensively. When that happens, it‚s the team that makes the fewest mistakes,” Thompson said.
Lee had Central‚s only touchdown on a one-yard run, and was 11 for 23 in the air for 124 yards passing and he rushed for 25 yards. Isaac Rogers had five receptions for 57 yards, Cade Tucker had four receptions for 63 yards and Coy Blackburn had two receptions for 20 yards.
On defense, Josh Marino led with 12 tackles, followed by Coy Blackburn with nine.
Central (1-1) hosts Roland (0-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday for the inaugural matchup of these intra-county, nondistrict teams.