Cape Central football team drops opener to top-ranked John Burroughs
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Ezekiel Elliott showed why he is one of the nation's premier high school football players.
But John Burroughs also showed why it is far from a one-man show.
"They're a good team," Central coach Nathan Norman said. "They're more than their running back. He's not their only weapon."
The Bombers displayed plenty of weapons Friday night to ease past host Central 43-14 in the season opener for both teams.
Burroughs, a private school from suburban St. Louis, is the state's top-ranked Class 3 squad after finishing as state runner-up the past two seasons.
"We played well," said Burroughs coach Gus Frerotte, the former St. Louis Rams quarterback. "I was proud of them."
Elliott, a senior tailback who has given Ohio State a verbal commitment, scored four touchdowns. They came in a variety of ways.
The 6-foot, 205-pounder reached the end zone on two first-half runs, from 13 and 36 yards. He powered through several tackles on the second jaunt before showing off his sprinter's speed.
Elliott put the finishing touches on the victory with two more scores over the final six minutes. Speed killed Central during his 49-yard pass reception and 60-yard punt return.
"It all went well," Elliott said.
Elliott, who often is sent out as a wide receiver in Burroughs' spread offense, carried just 15 times from scrimmage. He picked up 112 yards and added 68 yards on two receptions.
Although Elliott often made things look easy, he complimented Central's big, physical defensive line.
"Cape's front six is real tough," Elliott said. "It was hard to run the ball."
Central actually had more yards than the Bombers, 336 to 247, but big plays and short fields by Burroughs proved decisive.
"It seems like we were always playing on the wrong end of the field," Norman said. "They always had 50 yards to drive instead of 80. You can't beat a good football team doing that."
Central started only two drives beyond its 27-yard line. Burroughs never started a drive inside its 40-yard line.
The Bombers' four first-half touchdowns came on drives that started at the Central 21, 40, 36 and 40. Burroughs' fifth and final offensive touchdown late in the game was after a drive that began at Central's 49.
"We made too many mistakes. Simple mistakes," Central junior quarterback Dennis Vinson said.
Burroughs' four first-half touchdowns came after a fumble, an interception, an 11-yard punt and a 25-yard punt.
Central saw snaps on punts sail over the head of senior punter Calvin Lovig three times. One resulted in a safety. Another resulted in the 11-yard punt.
"We beat ourselves," Central senior tailback and cornerback Chris Martin said.
Things couldn't have started any better for the Tigers after they squibbed the opening kickoff. The ball hit a Burroughs player and was recovered by Central at the Bombers' 49-yard line.
But things quickly spiraled in the opposite direction.
Central's first play from scrimmage lost 18 yards. The second resulted in a fumble that Burroughs recovered at the Tigers' 21.
Elliott scored from 13 yards out two players later to make it 7-0 just 1 minute, 45 seconds into the game. Burroughs never looked back.
"We didn't get off to as good a start as we should have," Martin said.
Things only got worse. Lovig was forced to punt left-footed after tracking down an errant snap on Central's second possession. He did well to get off the boot at all, but it went just 11 yards.
Burroughs, which started at Central's 40, cashed in when Yale-bound senior wide receiver Foye Oluokun caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Nick Duncan.
The Bombers made it 20-0 early in the second quarter after taking over at Central's 36 after Vinson was intercepted.
Sophomore quarterback Tre Moore, who split time with Duncan, hit junior wide out Andrew Bartnett with a perfect 28-yard pass on a fade route in the end zone.
Central had just one first down and 6 yards to that point, but the Tigers settled in and made it a game for a long time.
"We started getting in a groove," Martin said.
The Tigers put together an 80-yard, six-play drive that ended when Martin showed off his speed on a 50-yard touchdown run down the right sideline. Lovig's extra point made it 20-7 with six minutes left before halftime.
"It felt great," Martin said. "The line did a great job. When I saw the field open up, I just took it."
Elliott's tackle-breaking 36-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes, 18 seconds left in the second quarter capped a 40-yard drive and put Burroughs up 27-7.
Central answered with a 72-yard drive that ended in a missed 28-yard field goal on the final play of the opening half.
"I thought we played a lot better in the second quarter," Norman said.
The only third-quarter score came on the safety when Central's punt snap sailed out of the end zone to make it 29-7.
Central's defense was strong the entire second half, which gave the Tigers' offense a chance to rally.
An 83-yard, eight-play drive ended when sophomore back Braion Owens ripped off a 28-yard touchdown run. Lovig's PAT cut the deficit to 29-14 with 9:50 left.
"I thought Cape did a good job battling back," Frerotte said.
Central forced a punt and took over at its 45. But Vinson was hit for a 4-yard loss on fourth-and-2 from the Burroughs' 47.
"That was the turning point," Norman said. "We couldn't make it happen. After that, it was downhill from there."
The next play saw Elliott, who was split out wide, take a short pass over the middle from Moore and race untouched to the end zone on a 49-yard completion.
Elliott iced the victory by racing 60 yards on a punt return with 3:10 left.
"We had a couple of low points in the game, but we finished it off well with the two big touchdowns," Elliott said.
Central rushed for 276 yards, led by senior tailback Jacob Campbell's 113 yards on 14 carries. The Tigers had 67 offensive plays compared to 39 for the Bombers.
"I'm confident in our team," said Vinson, who started just one game last year. "We just have to get used to playing with each other."
J -- Ezekiel Elliott 13 run (Rushil Sheth kick), 10:15
J -- Foye Oluokun 9 pass from Nick Duncan (kick failed), 4:05
J -- Andrew Bartnett 28 pass from Tre Moore (Sheth kick), 8:30
C -- Chris Martin 50 run (Calvin Lovig kick), 6:00
J -- Elliott 36 run (Sheth kick), 2:18
J -- Safety, Central snap went out of end zone, 8:05
C -- Braion Owens 28 run (Lovig kick), 9:50
J -- Elliott 49 pass from Moore (Sheth kick), 5:23
J -- Elliott 60 punt return (Sheth kick), 3:10
RUSHING -- John Burroughs, Elliott 15-112, Gregg Booker 1-0, Duncan 2-minus 7, Moore 1-minus 8, team 1-minus 10. Central, Jacob Campbell 14-113, Martin 9-48, Mikey Jones 14-46, Owens 3-37, Alex Davis-Carter 2-15, Jacob Margetta 3-11, Dennis Vinson 11-minus 20.
PASSING -- John Burroughs, Duncan 7-12-0-83, Moore 2-7-0-77. Central, Vinson 4-11-1-60.
RECEIVING -- John Burroughs, Elliott 2-68, Oluokun 2-45, Bartnett 2-35, Trevor Bain 2-12, Peter Schnuck 1-0. Central, Garan Evans 2-39, Campbell 1-13, Jacob Boerboom 1-8.