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Central falls to 0-2 with loss to NMCC

Saturday, September 6, 2008

ELIZABETH DODD ~ edodd@semissourian.com Central coach Rich Payne shouted instructions across the field during Friday's game against New Madrid County Central at Houck Stadium.
Cantrell Andrews had one of the best games of his high school career against New Madrid County Central on Friday.

He rushed for two touchdowns, including one 58-yarder.

He caught a 34-yard touchdown.

He rushed for 216 yards.

But it wasn't enough.

Andrews and the Tigers clung to a three-point lead in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles would deny them the upset. New Madrid scored two touchdowns in the final 6 minutes, 59 seconds of the game to win 44-35.

Central dropped to 0-2, while New Madrid improved to 1-1.

ELIZABETH DODD ~ edodd@semissourian.com Central running back Cantrell Andrews split New Madrid County Central defenders G'Darius Stevenson, left, and Jeremy James during the first half Friday night at Houck Stadium.
The crucial play came with about 3 minutes remaining in the fourth and the Eagles leading 38-35. They went for it with the ball on the Central 40-yard line, facing a fourth-and-8 play. If the Tigers could have stopped them, they would have gotten the football back with a chance to drive for the win.

The handoff was to New Madrid tailback G'Darius Stevenson, who turned it left. He was met in the backfield by the Central defense, and it looked like Stevenson would be dropped for a loss. Instead, the elusive back darted away from the pressure and sprinted 24 yards for the first down. New Madrid would follow that run with a touchdown 30 seconds later, eliminating Central's chance for a victory.

"Our O line did a good job of blocking and I got it outside, and [Andrews] tried to stop me and he almost had me," Stevenson said. "I was just, 'I just got to make it. I've got to do it for my team.'"

Andrews said the tackle should have been made.

ELIZABETH DODD ~ edodd@semissourian.com Cape Central's Shawn Hammock, right, protects the quarterback Andrew Williams during the first half against New Madrid at Houck Field Friday night.
"It was just a missed tackle," Andrews said. "That's what we need to work on -- staying low and not looking up at the body because they were good athletes. We just needed to pay attention to their hips and just follow through with our tackles.

Andrews looked at the positive. He was happy his team played a close game after losing to New Madrid 61-16 last season.

"That's just a big improvement -- just to be in competition and have the game going neck and neck and everybody on the edge of their seat," Andrews said. "See, I think we did a good job."

Central had trouble stopping the big plays. That was a concern for first-year Central coach Rich Payne after his team let up touchdowns of 79, 74 and 53 yards in Week 1.

Central's Shawn Hammock could only watch as New Madrid County Central's Rodney Anderson (5) returned a kickoff for a touchdown during the first half.
The Tigers allowed New Madrid two kickoff returns in the first half Friday. It also allowed the Eagles to score on touchdown runs of 41 and 48 yards.

"We've got a load of inexperience on kickoff this year," Andrews said. "Coach is trying to get them, the lower classmen, ready. ... Down the year, we'll get better at that."

New Madrid struck first with a littler trickery as Rodney Anderson took the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.

"I think it was the fake that really threw them off," Andrews said. "[Coach] was telling us to just keep our heads up. There was a lot of game left."

The Eagles converted a 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.

The Tigers battled back, scoring the next two touchdowns to pull ahead. They scored on a third-and-11 play from the Eagles' 34-yard line. Quarterback Andrew Williams threw a perfect lead pass to Andrews, who was streaking down the right sideline and sprinted in for the score. The extra-point try was no good to make it 8-6.

"Every time he touches the ball you just don't know what's going to happen," Williams said about Andrews. "He's so electric. He's just a really good athlete. I'm glad he's on my team."

Central took a 12-8 lead when Andrews ran in a touchdown from 10 yards out. It was part of a eight-play, 72-yard drive. The Tigers converted their 2-point try, making it 14-8.

New Madrid tied it 14-14 on a kickoff return of 65 yards with 1:41 remaining in the first quarter. The Eagles were unsuccessful on their conversion try.

New Madrid then struck 1:06 later. The Eagles intercepted Williams, and on their first play following the interception, Bryan Waters darted 41 yards for a score, making it 20-14. The 2-point try was no good.

The Tigers did not take long to regain the lead. They scored on the second play of the ensuing possession when Andrews ran for a 58-yard score just 10 seconds into the second quarter. The extra-point kick was good, making it 32-21.

New Madrid controlled the rest of the second quarter. The Eagles scored running touchdowns of 48 and 18 yards in the last 3:45 minutes to claim a 32-2 halftime lead.

Central got the ball to start the second half. The Tigers were back up on their own 15-yard line facing a 3-and-28 play when Andrews broke a 78-yard run to put his team in the red zone at the New Madrid 7-yard line. Brandon Pickens took the handoff on the next play, sprinting around the left side and scoring to cut the deficit to 32-27. The extra point kick was good, brining it 32-28.

That's the way the score stayed for the rest of the third. And with time expiring in the third, Central blocked a New Madrid punt. Shawn Hammock recovered and brought it down to the Eagles' 34-yard line. On a second-and-10 play from the 34, Williams threw a bullet to Drew Gardner, who made a nice catch running into the end zone for the score. Central added the extra point to take a 35-32 lead.

Mew Madrid got the ball back and took it 38 yard on eight plays to make it 38-35. The Eagles scored on a 15-yard run by Stevenson with 6:59 remaining in the game, then tacked on another touchdown with 2:29 remaining.

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0-2 looking good going for 0-fer for the year...

thanks dr welker...

great decision on you hfb coach selection...

maybe he should have stuck to officiating and you should have stayed in jackson...

-- Posted by niceguy on Sat, Sep 6, 2008, at 10:22 AM

Hey nice guy---The superintendent doesn't hire the football coach..Get a clue!! At least they didn't get blown out 64-16 like last year. Way to support the team!

-- Posted by bulletman on Sat, Sep 6, 2008, at 11:53 AM

hey pal, the supt did hire the hfb coach...

and what a fantastic hire it was...

a guy with zip hfb coaching experience...

but i bet he can call a mean game as an official...

way to go dr welker, 0-fer here you come...

-- Posted by niceguy on Sat, Sep 6, 2008, at 4:35 PM

Last time I checked the Superintendent was there to make sure kids got a proper education, not manage a football team.

-- Posted by ithica on Sat, Sep 6, 2008, at 4:54 PM

I would just like to say that the issue is not coach Payne. The issue is the assistant coaches and the players. The staff seems like they have no clue how to gameplan or even teach the kids. They have kids playing positions that they just can't play. Some of the players on the field are a me first type of person and that can not work in the game of football. I am sick and tired of seeing these kids jumping around like a bunch of fools. YOU HAVE NOT WON $*%# YET. YOU HAVE NOT EVEN WON A GAME OR EVEN A QUARTER. UNTIL YOU WIN SOMETHING LEAVE THE CELEBRATING TO THE PROS! I am also tired of the losing. Until we replace the whole staff we will never win. The other teams we play will get in a kids face a rip him a new one. Our staff just says that's ok we will get them next time, we played well. Replace the staff with some coaches that have a set and are not afraid to offend someone.

Two suggestions to coach Payne, one put a stop to the celebrating it is not needed. Two take a hard look at all your positions and make sure you are playing the right kid in the right spot. Before some of you start saying your kid isn't playing for a reason, my kid is starting.

-- Posted by mojo99 on Sat, Sep 6, 2008, at 8:34 PM

Niceguy, Please have your facts straight before ripping Coach Payne and Dr. Welker. As a former assistant at Central, I spent many a Friday nights sitting next to Coach Payne in the pressbox. That means he has more than zippo in coaching experience at the High School level. Coach Payne also has experience at the collegiate level. So experience levels are not an issue. Dr. Welker is an outstanding individual who has the students best interests at heart. I feel very fortunate to have coached both his sons at Central. Support those kids and back off your supposed expertise until you earn some.

-- Posted by fbref36 on Sat, Sep 6, 2008, at 8:59 PM

I know it is only week 2 but from what I have seen this team will be in serious trouble if Cantrell went down. I have not really seen any other player that can step in and keep this team a float. The other RB's don't seem to have the ability to carry the load and the WR/QB combination seems confused. When New Madrid put pressure on the QB he seemed scared. I have not seen much out of the WR's (not that they have had anything much to catch) either. Let's hope coach Payne has something up his sleeve to turn this ship around. Otherwise the next 8 games will seem like an eternity.

-- Posted by GrizzlyBearDance on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 7:41 AM

I would like to congratulate the Tiger football team on their performance Friday night. After watching them at the jamboree and then last week, they are definitely improving. It will take time, but the Tiger fever will be caught by all. Keep up the hard work guys and prove those doubters wrong. Kudos to Andrew Williams for staying strong in the game.

-- Posted by kristi on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 10:17 AM

If the Tigers can not handle a smaller school like New Madrid, how are they going to react to the rest of the schedule. The rest of the schedule is brutal. The Williams kid was lucky to stay alive, he needs to use his feet so he does not become a tackling dummy. The kid did stand strong in the pocket but that is because he can't use his feet. When the schedule gets tougher we will see how strong he stays. His linemen better learn to yell LOOK OUT!!!

-- Posted by GrizzlyBearDance on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 10:58 AM

Central's program needs rebuilding from top to bottom. Welker was a successful student athlete in high school and knows the importance of a good athletic program improving student development. As a professional, he also understands the need for strong infrastructure support in rebuilding a sports program. The team behind the team needs needs to be strong, unified, and organized. Central's infrastructure support is not where it needs to be and it will take time to develop. The program could well benefit from a community working together to form an enthusiastic booster club to show the kids they have the support of Cape Girardeau instead of reading the whining and complaining on a blog. Central suffers from its "know-it-alls" and "do-nothings" being one in the same.

-- Posted by SEMO56a on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 12:02 PM

Good post SEMO56, well said and quite accurate.

-- Posted by tigerfan87 on Thu, Sep 11, 2008, at 11:49 AM

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