On a night Smith-Cotton required a near-perfect performance to upset a West Central Conference top-dog, the Tigers turned in a doozy.
The Center Yellowjackets remained undefeated Friday, Oct. 14 at Tiger Stadium in Sedalia with a 49-17 victory over Smith-Cotton.
While, Center (9-0) was obviously the biggest challenge on the Smith-Cotton schedule going into the season, Friday, they were also the hardest-hitting. Three Tiger injuries delayed action Friday after big hits.
And while the Yellowjackets were formidable, the Tigers did itself few favors. Head coach Ryan Boyer said Friday’s performance was trying.
“Where we fell short, was, we executed the game plan, but on third and long on defense or we’re in position to get a first down, we just didn’t make the plays,” Boyer said. “It is frustrating. They were frustrated.”
Smith-Cotton butchered three punt sequences Friday, and its first of the night was the worst. The snap deflected off Blake Grupe’s right hand and, after corralling the ball, had his emergency punt blocked for a safety.
Rachaad White returned the ensuing kickoff for Center 40 yards to the Smith-Cotton 16. Two plays later, White dashed to the right pylon for the first Yellowjacket touchdown.
Going for it on fourth and three, Langdon Hughes intercepted Jaden Kendrick and returned the pass 60 yards for a Center touchdown. The Yellowjackets led 14-0 with 2:14 remaining in the first quarter.
Center produced another turnover minutes into the second quarter. After a productive cut, Gauge Young fumbled on a tackle from behind.
One minute later, Amaun Ryan connected with Cristian Cox for a 54-yard touchdown on a deep post route. The point after attempt was good and Center led 21-0.
Grupe, who hit a 26-yard field goal and converted an onside kick, lost the snap on a second-quarter punt but managed a rolling boot. On his next punt, he was tackled for a loss on a bobbled snap.
Cox collected a 13-yard touchdown reception for Center’s fourth score with 5:11 left in the first half. The Yellowjackets then had three shots at the end zone in the closing minute of the half, concluding its drive with a 15-yard David Wilson touchdown reception and extending the lead to 35-0.
Norvell Trent piled onto the Yellowjacket lead with a 50-yard touchdown carry minutes into the second half.
After committing zero penalties in the first half, Center was flagged for a facemask and targeting to give Smith-Cotton a fresh set of downs on the Yellowjacket 12-yard line. Young scored the first S-C touchdown from 1 yard out.
Tyshawn Ward recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt, and another Center penalty – a late hit – placed the Tigers on the Center 19-yard line. Unable to push the Yellowjacket front, the Tigers opted for a 26-yard field goal from Grupe to make it 42-10 and disable the running clock.
Ryan hit Cox for his third passing score and Cox’s third touchdown reception with 8:53 to play. A 49-10 lead reinitiated the starting clock, which kept rolling after the second Smith-Cotton touchdown, a 2-yard run from Malik Davis.
Center set up Davis’ score with a bad punt. The Yellowjackets punted just once before Friday, and Smith-Cotton (4-5) took possession at the Center 16-yard line after its second punt attempt of the season.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2