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Central throws a scare into SLUH
Moral victories typically do not count for much in sports.
But after playing its most complete game of the season in a narrow 21-13 loss to St. Louis University High on Thursday night at Houck Stadium, Central's football team left the field feeling pretty good about its effort.
"Overall, that's the best we've played all year against a real good team," Central running back Brandon Twiggs said.
Playing against the No. 6 team in the St. Louis Post Dispatch's large-school poll, Central (1-4) pushed the ball 80 yards on 16 plays in the opening drive for a 7-0 lead six minutes into the game.
Marcus Rice, who sat out last week against Normandy, made three catches on the scoring drive, including a one-handed grab for a first down. Freshman quarterback Garrett Stevens completed six passes on the drive, which was capped by a 3-yard run from Twiggs.
Central coach Lawrence Brookins said he was impressed with Stevens' poise in his first start.
"He did not play like a freshman, did he?" Brookins said.
SLUH (4-1) answered early in the second quarter with an 11-yard run from Stephen Simmons. Simmons' run was set up by several Tigers penalties. Central committed eight penalties in the opening half for 75 yards.
"The bottom line is you cannot continue to make those mistakes. It's always the little things," Brookins said.
Despite the penalty problems, the Tigers found themselves tied 7-7 at halftime.
But good field position in the second half helped the Jr. Billikens grab the lead. After starting around midfield, SLUH scored on a 20-yard pass from Matt Behr to 6-foot-6 receiver John Warner.
Central put together several first downs on its next drive, but on fourth-and-3 near the 35-yard line, Twiggs fumbled a pitch and SLUH recovered. On the first play after the fumble, Simmons scored on a 57-yard run to put SLUH ahead 21-7.
Simmons finished with 154 yards on the ground.
Tyrone Reece scored on a 20-yard reception early in the fourth quarter to cut the score to 21-13, but Central could not take advantage of a drive midway through the quarter and SLUH was able to run out the clock.
SLUH coach and former Southeast Missouri State University football player Gary Kornfeld said his team has had to battle all season, and he was happy they were able to put this one away.
"It was good for me to come back here. I'm going home happy with a win," he said.
For the second straight week Twiggs finished with more than 100 yards rushing. Twiggs had 125 yards on 27 carries. Stevens completed 15-of-27 passes for 159 yards and was not sacked in the game.
"Our offensive line stepped up tonight. They played their best game hands down," Brookins said. "Especially protecting the passer."
SLUH 21, Central 13
C -- Brandon Twiggs 3-yard run (Andy Billmeyer kick)
S -- Stephen Simmons 11-yard run (Matt Behr kick)
S -- John Warner 20-yard pass from Behr (kick failed)
S -- Simmons 57-yard run (Crhis Hoffman pass from Behr)
C -- Tyrone Reece 20-yard pass from Garrett Stevens (kick failed)
RUSHING -- SLUH, Simmons 18-154; Hoffman 7-19; Behr 3-(-4); Central, Twiggs 27-125; Marcus Rice 1-11; Ryan Davis 4-5; Reece 3-3; Stevens 3-1.
PASSING -- SLUH, Behr 8-13-0-100; Central, Stevens 15-25-0-159.
RECEIVING -- SLUH, Paul Cheney 2-40; Hoffman 2-23; Warner 3-37; Curtis Hoette 1-0; Central, Rice 7-83; Reece 3-35; Twiggs 1-8; Scott Dunaway 1-16; Ty Craft 3-17.