Central wins, sets up showdown with PB

Saturday, November 1, 2003

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- Perryville proved stubborn early before visiting Cape Girardeau Central took control and romped 42-0 Friday night to set up a showdown next week for the Class 4, District 1 title.

The Tigers improved to 7-2 overall and 2-0 in district play while the Pirates fell to 3-6 and 0-2. Central visits undefeated, state-ranked Poplar Bluff on Thursday with a playoff berth on the line.

Central led just 7-0 late in the first half before moving ahead 14-0 at halftime and broke the game open with a 21-point third quarter. The Tigers recorded their first shutout of the season.

"I'm extremely happy for the kids," Central coach Lawrence Brookins said. "It was a good total team effort all the way across the board."

Unofficially, Central piled up 389 yards, including 264 yards rushing. Brandon Twiggs gained 77 yards on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns; Marcus Rice had 60 yards on five attempts, Gabe Edwards had 49 yards on five carries, and Mikell Abraham added 27 yards on five attempts and scored twice.

Central quarterback Mitch Craft completed nine of 12 passes for 125 yards. He rushed for 51 yards on five carries. Mark Dunaway caught four passes for 55, and Phil Kiefner added three receptions for 40 yards.

After Perryville picked up one first down but then failed on fourth down on the game's opening possession, Central marched 64 yards to score.

Key plays were a 30-yard pass from Craft to Dunaway and an 8-yard pass to Kiefner on fourth-and-7 that moved the ball to the 20. Abraham got the touchdown on a 5-yard run with six minutes left in the first quarter, and Colin Schermann's first of six extra points made it 7-0.

But that's the way it stood until the closing seconds of the first half.

First, Perryville had a golden opportunity to score when Corey Buerck hit Matt Unterreiner with a pass deep into Central territory, but Craft knocked the ball away and his brother, Ty Craft, recovered the fumble at Central's 2-yard line late in the opening period.

A short time later, Twiggs fumbled and Perryville's Matt Tisher recovered on the Tigers' 47-yard line. The Pirates had another solid chance to score when they moved to the 21 before the drive ended on downs.

Central proceeded to march 79 yards, scoring on Twiggs' 6-yard run with just 29 seconds left in the half.

Will Johnson gave the Tigers breathing room when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 88 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.

The Tigers scored again when Abraham capped a 59-yard drive with a 4-yard run to go ahead 28-0.

Central opened a 35-0 lead late in the third quarter when Edwards' 3-yard run ended a 60-yard march.

Early in the final period, the Tigers scored a defensive touchdown. After Perryville marched deep into Central territory, Twiggs intercepted Buerck and returned it 78 yards to make it 42-0.

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