Turnovers in second half seal Central loss to Seckman

Sunday, October 11, 2009

ARNOLD, Mo. -- Central only trailed Seckman by seven points entering halftime Friday.

But key turnovers early in the second half and the defense's inability to stop the Panthers' standout running back, Tyler Fisher, ultimately doomed any chances that Central had of spoiling Seckman's homecoming game.

The Panthers (4-3) ended up besting Central 41-26. It was the Tigers' seventh loss in a row this season and the team's 18th road loss in a row, a streak that started during the 2006 campaign.

"We made some key mistakes, but I'm exceptionally proud of the way the team played in this game," said Central coach Rich Payne, whose team trailed 21-14 at the intermission.

Central quarterback Christian Cavaness provided the Tigers' offensive punch with a pair of long touchdown passes to Andrew Williams. Running back Brandon Pickens scored Central's other touchdown.

But the Tigers' offense also gave up several turnovers, which gave Seckman (4-3) great field position.

Fisher capitalized.

The junior scored five times to give him 25 touchdowns this season.

"The defense was faster than I thought it would be, but they left the middle of their formations wide open," Fisher said. "I just found these holes and ran through them."

Rainstorms in the area, which subsided a couple of hours before kickoff, left the field behind Seckman High School a mess. Groundskeepers hustled to make it appear somewhat presentable by kickoff, but by the final buzzer, the field resembled a giant puddle and the uniforms of most of the players were caked in mud.

"This is football weather," Pickens said. "I think the mud made the whole thing a lot more fun."

The Tigers will try to build of their successes in the first half as they prepare to open district play next week. Central will host Rockwood Summit on Thursday.

"You should have heard how pumped up we were in the locker room today at halftime," Central junior Zach Boerboom said. "We may have made some mistakes out there, but we made it a game. We're not a team that is going to give up easily."

There's reason for optimism for the Tigers as the other three teams in their district -- Jackson, Rockwood Summit and Eureka -- are a combined 3-17. All four teams lost Friday.

"We only have one or two regular players that are seniors," Payne said. "This is a very young team, which means they're inexperienced. But they have a lot of energy. We can only get better."

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