By RANDY CAVIN
Special to The Messenger
Obion Central treated the home crowd to a dominating 47-7 win over Montgomery Central Friday night, but the Rebels also lost their star running back to an ankle injury on the second play of the game.
Leading rusher Bryce Warner was helped off the field after he injured his right ankle after picking up 11 yards on an inside hand-off. He was out for the remainder of the game and taken to Jackson for X-rays.
“We took him to Jackson to Dr. (David) Pierce over there at the West Tennessee Bone and Joint,” Central head coach Shawn Jackson said after the game. “They saw him tonight, so he is over there finding out. His ankle was in a bad way when I went in there (locker room) at halftime. He is a great kid, and it is unfortunate.”
Even with the setback of losing the top running back, the Rebels had the momentum throughout the game — and it all began on the opening drive.
OC reeled off five first downs on the five first plays of the game, capped off with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Blake Berner to Camden Napper. It only took 5:05 off the clock for the Rebel to score.
Central’s offense totaled 259 yards in the first half alone with 121 on the ground and 138 in the air
The Rebels put two more TDs on the scoreboard in the second quarter with one coming at the 8:42 mark on a Berner two-yard run. Ben Jones was on the receiving end of the other TD from Berner on a 20-yard pass after Berner scrambled to avoid a sack with 29.3 seconds to play in the half.
“We executed pretty well early in the game,” Jackson said. “Our guys did a good job of filling in and making plays. We threw it and caught a little bit better than we have been, and we were able to run it up front.”
The offense can thank the defense for doing its job in the game and getting the ball back into its hands.
The Rebels’ defense held the Indians to a mere 38 total yards in the first half. Nathan Spaulding got a sack in the half, and Andrew Horner intercepted a pass to begin the second quarter to set up Central’s second scoring drive.
Alec Reynolds picked off a pass on a deflection on Central’s 40-yard-line. After the Rebels failed to gain a first down, they tried a little trickery with Jake Garrigan on a fake punt. He picked up nine yards on the play and kept the ball in the Rebels’ possession. The Rebels scored five plays later.
The fake punt was not the only trickery the Rebels pulled out of the hat. OC also recovered two onside kick-offs. One came after their first score and the second to open up the second half
It took the Rebels just six plays to score their fourth TD of game to open up the second half. Berner hit Rudd for a TD reception from eight yards out.
The defense held the Indians to a three-and-out, and the Rebels were quickly in the end zone once again as Berner scored on an 11-yard run following a 23-yard swing pass to Rudd and a 39-yard strike to Napper.
“We were able to score on some quick drives, and we got a couple of onside kicks,” Jackson said. “We really got the momentum going in our favor the whole time.”
Garrigan’s fake punt was not his only big play. He made a bigger one on defense in the third quarter when Montgomery quarterback Peyton Delvendahl missed his receiver and threw the ball right in Garrigan’s waiting hands. He returned the interception 40 yards for the Rebels sixth TD of the game to make 41-0 with 5:26 left in the third quarter.
After the game, the Rebels head coach spoke very highly of the performance from his defensive unit.
“Our kids did a good job, and we got better over there,” Jackson said. “We did a better job of recognizing things. We played the option pretty good, and we played the dive good. We were a lot better up front. Our kids have gotten a lot better, assignment-sound, the last of couple of weeks and it seemed to help us this week.”
Mark Jackson made it seven TDs for the Rebels on an 18-yard run in the fourth quarter. The Indians got nearly half of their total yardage on a 50-yard pass play from Delvendahl to Robert Oxendine about midway through the final quarter. The Indians finally got on the scoreboard with 1:58 to play in the game on a Heath Greene’s four-yard run.
Central finished the game with 425 total yards. Berner gained 237 yards on 14-of-26 passing with three TDs. He also was the leading rusher with 61 yards on seven carries and two more TDs. Rudd had four receptions for 71 yards and one TD. The defense limited the Indians to just 119 yards of offense. Delvendahl was sacked three times in the game with Spaulding, Hunter Brady and Michael Montgomery getting one each.
The Rebels next test will not be an easy one. They must travel to Medina on Friday to take on South Gibson, which will be coming off an open date after beating Milan 20-19.
“South Gibson plays great football, and they have turned it around,” Jackson said. “Momentum is a dangerous thing, and they have momentum.”
Published in The Messenger 9.24.12