That's about the only thing the Tigers' defense failed to accomplish during a dominant performance.
"When we all play our responsibilities, great things happen," senior linebacker Rene Reyes said.
Visiting St. Charles West scored against Central's reserves with under two minutes remaining to avoid the shutout.
The late touchdown did little to dampen the Tigers' enthusiasm as they posted their first victory of the season 28-7.
"We're just excited about the win," senior defensive back Kyle Thompson said.
Central (1-1) bounced back from a season-opening 43-14 home loss to powerhouse John Burroughs while avenging a 31-14 setback at St. Charles West last year.
"This was revenge," senior tailback and defensive back Jacob Campbell said. "We had a bad game against them last year."
Central held the Warriors (0-2) to only 79 yards of offense until the closing minutes.
West, which operates a triple-option offense, finished with 164 yards. The Warriors had only 14 first-half yards as Central built a 21-0 lead.
"Coach always says, ‘If all 11 men do their job.' ... It feels real nice," junior defensive tackle Darvile Hopkins said.
Central coach Nathan Norman not only was excited about the way the Tigers shut down West's triple option but also about the focus they displayed at halftime.
Several lightning strikes during halftime caused weather delays that forced the intermission to run about 90 minutes.
"It was very unusual," Norman said. "It's hard to get your kids to stay focused that long, but they did."
The Warriors seemed to be out of sync offensively most of the night as rain pelted the FieldTurf surface at Tiger Stadium much of the game.
West's longest play was 14 yards until the closing minutes. The Warriors fumbled six times and lost three.
"We were very pleased with the way they contained the option," Norman said about his defense. "Any time you play a team that runs the option, it's scary."
Central's offense also sputtered much of the night, but the Tigers put a nice first-quarter drive together to grab a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Senior tailback Chris Martin broke loose for a 35-yard touchdown on fourth-and-2 with three minutes left in the period.
The run capped a 60-yard march, and Calvin Lovig kicked the first of his four extra points to put Central up 7-0.
Central's defense then helped put the Warriors in a big hole.
West, on the possession after Central's touchdown, faced third-and-5 from midfield.
The Tigers got strong penetration up front and forced a fumble on a pitch. The ball bounced until Thompson finally grabbed it and raced untouched 30 yards to the end zone with 10:33 left before halftime.
"It was awesome," Thompson said. "We had a couple of guys fighting over it. I just grabbed it and took off. I knew nobody was going to catch me."
West's next possession resulted in another lost fumble. Reyes pounced on the ball at the Warriors' 34-yard line.
Junior tailback Mikey Jones found the end zone from 5 yards out nine plays later, putting Central up 21-0 with 2:24 remaining before the break.
The ensuing 90-minute delay did little to slow down Central's defense, and the Tigers' offense added insurance.
Campbell broke off a 53-yard touchdown run with 7:42 left in the game to make it 28-0.
"I give all credit to my line," Campbell said.
The only suspense remaining was whether the Tigers would finish off the shutout.
West reserve junior tailback Marlon Luckett made sure that didn't happen. He broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown on his only carry of the night with 1:33 left.
"We got the win. That's all that matters," Reyes said.
Campbell added a fumble recovery for Central. Hopkins, Reyes and senior linebacker Jacob Margetta all recorded sacks.
"Our defense was great," Campbell said. "We just read our keys."
Central's offense generated just 265 yards, 130 of that coming late in the game when the Tigers seemed to wear down the Warriors.
The Tigers did not turn the ball over as they stayed fairly conservative in the second half with the big lead.
"I felt like we were in control. Our offense did some nice things," said Norman, whose squad attempted just six passes and only one in the second half. "But we have to get better offensively."
Central plays its first road game at Poplar Bluff on Friday.
Central 28, St. Charles West 7
|St. Charles West||0||0||0||7||--||7|
C -- Chris Martin 35 run (Calvin Lovig kick), 3:00
C -- Kyle Thompson 30 fumble return (Lovig kick), 10:33
C -- Mikey Jones 5 run (Lovig kick), 2:24
C -- Jacob Campbell 53 run (Lovig kick), 7:42
SCW -- Marlon Luckett 74 run (Drew Lauer kick), 1:33
RUSHING -- St. Charles West, Luckett 1-74, Casey Bartee 5-40, Lauer 9-30, Auggie Loschen 5-12, Greg Illy 7-9, Kyle Anders 7-minus 23, Blake Rugraff 1-11, team 1-minus 20. Central, Campbell 4-64, Martin 14-63, Alex Davis-Carter 9-43, Jones 6-27, Braion Owens 3-13, Dennis Vinson 3-1, Chase Hagerty 2-minus 1.
PASSING -- St. Charles West, Anders 4-11-0-31. Central, Vinson 3-6-0-55.
RECEIVING -- St. Charles West, Ryan Finders 3-17, Lauer 1-14. Central, Garan Evans 1-20, Martin 1-19, Jacob Boerboom 1-16.