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Central blasts De Soto 61-28 in Class 4 regional
DE SOTO, Mo. -- David Huffman's defensive play helped turn the momentum in Central's favor in Wednesday's offensive shootout.
Huffman scooped up a muffed snap on a punt attempt and returned it 8 yards for a score early in the second quarter.
The Tigers rode the momentum from that play to a rousing 61-28 victory over De Soto in their Class 4 regional playoff game Wednesday. It was Central's first playoff win since 2002.
"It switched the whole momentum our way and kind of put them on their heels," Huffman said about his touchdown. "The train just kept on going and we did what we did."
Moore said drilling the punter is what the coaches told him in practice to do on similar plays.
"It was big because they had just scored," Moore said. "We had to stop them to get the edge and get the momentum going. That helped a lot."
The victory means the rematch the Tigers have wanted since falling to undefeated Sikeston 21-0 in Week 9. The Tigers and Bulldogs will square off in a rematch at 7 p.m. Monday in Sikeston, Mo.
"You always play it in your head, 'What if we win this and Sikeston wins, where will we play?'" Central quarterback Christian Cavaness said. "It was in the back of our heads the entire time. We just did a good job focusing on this game at the start and finishing."
Central clung to a 13-6 lead when the Tigers forced the Dragons to punt. The snap to punter Jared White was low, and Central's Keilon Moore barreled in like a runaway train. Moore pounded White to the turf, leaving the ball loose.
"I got a little scratch on my head," Moore said about the thumping hit.
Huffman picked up the football and rumbled untouched into the end zone.
"I just shot my gap in and I guess Keilon came in and hit him," Huffman said. "I saw it was a bad snap and I just ran in and grabbed the ball. It kind of went blurry, but I was like, I didn't think I got a touchdown. It was cool."
Central's offense took over from there. The Tigers never punted and scored their most points since a 67-0 victory over Charleston in 1971.
"Anything we wanted was working," Cavaness said. "We had great blocking the whole game. Our backs found the holes and our receivers got open. It was one of our best games that we've played, I believe."
The Tigers took control in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns after Huffman's score. Cavaness hooked up with Andrew WIlliams for a 12-yard scoring strike, and Austin Davis raced into the end zone from 25 yards out. De Soto scored at the end of the first half, but Central still enjoyed a 34-14 lead at the intermission.
"What happens every week, taking care of our responsibilities, execution," Moore said about the offense's success.
James Poindexter scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and Moore added one in the third quarter, but Central never managed to earn the running clock. The Tigers had a chance after Poindexter's second touchdown of the third quarter, but the extra point failed.
Moore and Poindexter led Central's offensive attack. Moore finished with 158 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries, while Poindexter added 141 yards and two scores on 12 totes.
"We really focused on our blocks this time," Poindexter said.
Central gained 491 yards on its way to earning its 10th victory, which matches the school records for wins in a season. It's the fourth time Central has won 10 games in a season.
"During the first half, the outside linebackers were playing real close in on the line," Cavaness said. "We just run it outside and hook them. In the second half, they would back out more and we would run it up the middle."
But it's the rematch with Sikeston that was on the Tigers' minds after Wednesday's win. The Tigers rolled into their Week 9 matchup against Sikeston with an 8-0 record and an offense that hadn't been stopped all season. But the Bulldogs limited Central to 95 yards. The Tigers feel more prepared for the rematch.
"We knew if we didn't beat this team, there'd be no revenge against Sikeston," Huffman said. "They did a little option and Sikeston likes to do that, so we got to work on it a little bit. It was just a practice."
C -- Keilon Moore 4 run (run failed), 2:58
D -- Donald Hoss 1 run (kick failed), 11:10
C -- Moore 55 run (Andrew Hileman kick), 9:23
C -- David Huffman 8 fumble return (Hileman kick), 8:18
C -- Andrew Williams 12 pass from Christian Cavaness (Hileman kick), 4:46
C -- Austin Davis 25 run (Hileman kick), 1:28
D -- Harry Evola 10 pass from Hoss (Jared White pass from Hoss), :00.3
C -- James Poindexter 6 run (Hileman kick), 9:27
C -- Moore 45 run (Hileman kick), 4:11
D -- Hoss 1 run (pass failed), 2:45
C -- Poindexter 35 run (kick failed), 1:45
D -- Frank Figge 1 run (White pass from Hoss), 9:11
C -- Austin Martin 2 run (Hileman kick), 4:51
RUSHING -- Central, James Poindexter 12-141, Keilon Moore 14-158, Christian Cavaness 5-17, Austin Davis 1-25, Garan Evans 4-(-1), Alex Davis-Carter 2-(-1), Austin Martin 2-8, Jacob Cambell 1-(-2). De Soto, Mike Lee 16-73, Brandon Fluegge 2-8, Donald Hoss 11-72, Team 1-(-10), Frank Figge 7-45, Austin Hayes 1-12.
PASSING -- Central Christian Cavaness 7-11-141-0. De Soto, Donald Hoss 12-29-202-1.
RECEIVING -- Central, Andrew Williams 4-73, James Poindexter 1-34, Zach Boerboom 1-11, Alex Davis-Carter 1-23. De Soto, Harry Evola 6-80, Jared White 3-62, Ed Oquendo 2-59, Mike Lee 1-1.