Tigers defeat St. Charles 51-33 for first victory

Friday, September 21, 2007
Central quarterback Chase Johnson ran on a keeper during the second quarter against St. Charles on Thursday at Houck Stadium. (Fred Lynch)

Trick play sparks Central to a 51-33 victory over St. Charles.

It was third-and-18 with Central down a touchdown.

Tigers quarterback Chase Johnson threw a short pass to Tyler McNabb, who was quickly hit by a St. Charles defender, well short of a first down.

But McNabb had other ideas.

He pitched the ball to the speedy Cantrell Andrews before falling to the turf.

Andrews snatched the ball and ran.

And ran.

He didn't stop until the end zone, capping a 54-yard touchdown play. The Tigers used the momentum from that play to knock off St. Charles 51-33 on Thursday for the team's first win of the season.

"We've been working on this play for a couple weeks now," Andrews said. "Chase threw the ball to Tyler and he threw it to me. In practice, we've been messing up here and there. But it just worked perfectly here and touchdown. It was a nice play."

It's the type of play usually reserved for video games, but the Tigers (1-3) decided to give it a try and it worked beautifully.

"We worked on it several times in the last few days," McNabb said. "It's something that has to come together in a game and it did."

Central coach Lawrence Brookins said the hook-and-ladder play has been in the team's offensive playbook for a few weeks, but he was waiting for the proper time to use it. He found it Thursday, and Johnson said he was confident it would work as soon as he got the play from his coach.

"I thought when he called it, it was a good play because I knew the other team was going to think it was a little hitch and he was going to fall," Johnson said. "Seeing that work, I had a real big smile on my face after that play. It made me look like a better quarterback running that play."

The Tigers' ground attack beat up the Pirates, rushing for 330 yards on 50 carries. Derek Walker led the way with 14 carries for 125 yards and two scores while Andrews added 103 yards on 16 carries with two scores.

"I've got to give credit to the line," Andrews said. "They did a good job tonight. We've been doing drills that have been helping us hold onto the ball."

Central also struck through the air. Johnson threw for two touchdowns -- a 22-yarder to Walker and a 39-yarder to McNabb. McNabb led the Central receivers with four catches for 53 yards.

The Tigers knocked off St. Charles last year and used it as a springboard to reach the playoffs. Andrews said he'd love to use Thursday's win in a similar fashion.

"It feels good tonight, especially how we've got people around us who said we couldn't do it," he said. "It feels good coming out and showing them we're still together."

The game didn't start well for Central. St. Charles won the toss, but decided to kick. The Pirates pulled a little trickery of their own with an onside kick that they recovered. They marched 47 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers in an early hole.

The teams traded touchdowns through the first half, but the Pirates led 21-19 at halftime after gaining 191 yards in the opening half.

The teams again traded touchdowns in the third quarter before Central pulled away in the fourth. Walker scored from 1 yard out, then the Tigers' defense delivered. McNabb intercepted a pass and Andrews scored three plays later on a 5-yard run. After St. Charles scored a touchdown, McNabb hit a 40-yard field goal for the final margin.

The Pirates attacked the Tigers mainly through the air, with quarterback Jake Bornhop going 20-of-33 for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Eric Henninigsen caught five balls for 149 yards and three scores.

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