By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
October 4, 2006
Up 28-20 and facing a fourth and goal inside the Hood River Valley one-yard line with a minute to go in the game, Centennial Coach Chris Knudsen made a bold, but understandable decision.
Go for it.
If Centennial punched it in, the game would be over; if they failed to get it, Hood River, not exactly known as a passing team, would have to go 99 yards in less than two minutes with no times out left.
The Hood River defense swarmed the running back for a loss and the Hood River offense almost made the Centennial coach regret his decision as they marched 85 yards down the field before the clock ran out on their drive – after they decided not to spike the ball with 17 seconds left after a first down in Centennial territory – and a receiver was not able to get out of bounds as time expired.
“Sometimes we do some things are foolish,” Jackson said. “But that’s my responsibility; that’s my job. I’m struggling that we did not win this game.”
The loss was a difficult one for the Eagles, who, after turning the ball over three times and being controlled by Centennial quarterback Kyle Warner in the first half, had turned the game around late.
Things looked bright for Hood River early when Ian Bohince took a handoff and went 65 yards down the near sideline to put them up 7-0 a minute-and-half into the game.
On Centennial’s first drive they moved the ball inside the Hood River five-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. While the weather was clear and the night unusually warm, the next Hood River possession would be when storm clouds converged on the Eagle’s game plan.
Hood River fumbled the ball on a second down run during their second series of the drive and Centennial recovered at the Hood River 30.
Centennial got into the end zone for the first time seconds later on a halfback pass from Drew Fischer to tie the game at 7-7. On the next Hood River possession another fumble gave the ball to Centennial.
On the second play of the second quarter, facing a first and 25, Warner reversed the field twice to pick up 24 yards. With 6:05 to go in the quarter, Centennial scored on 15-yard run to put them up 14-7.
On the subsequent drive, Travis Carratt’s pass was intercepted at midfield by Centennial who took over on their own 44-yard line. Warner then proceeded to engineer a touchdown drive, helped along by a pass interference and a late hit call against Hood River, which was finished off by a 3-yard touchdown run by Warner on a quarterback draw to put Centennial up 21-7.
Hood River in turn was able to take advantage of several penalties by Centennial on the next drive, and Erik Lujano finished the drive with a 21-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left in the half to pull Hood River to within 21-14.
Centennial got the ball coming out of halftime and again used a mix of passes, running plays and quarterback scrambles to keep the Hood River defense on its heels as they finished off the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to put them up 28-14 with 9:30 to go in the third quarter.
However, after that drive, the momentum that had been swinging Centennial’s way after Bohince’s early touchdown began to swing back to Hood River.
After Centennial pushed out to their 45 on a long run on their next drive, the Hood River defense dug in. After nearly intercepting Warner on the previous play, Carratt picked off Warner’s third down pass with 2:40 to play in the quarter to give them the ball in Centennial territory. Carratt, after beginning the drive with an interception, finished it with a two-yard dive into the end zone with just over 10 minutes to play in the game and cut the lead to 28-20.
On their next drive Centennial drove to the Hood River ten before the Eagle defense came up big again with Jake Gilderson intercepting Warner’s pass to snuff out the drive. The Eagles punted the ball back to Centennial, which drove to the Hood River one before being stopped on fourth down. Hood River took over with 99 yards to go, only 1:24 to do it, and no times out.
On the first play the Eagles were flagged for pass interference, pushing them back inside their own one-yard line. Hood River got the penalty yardage back and then some on the next play when Carratt hit an open Erick Lujano for a 55-yard gain into Centennial territory.
After a spike and an incompletion, Carratt found Chase Munos for a 16-yard gain and another first down which stopped the clock with 55 seconds left.
Carratt then found another open receiver to get the ball to the Centennial 20 with 17 seconds left. Hood River elected not to spike the ball after the first down and the clock kept running after the referee had set the ball. Carratt completed a short pass to Joe Johnson who fought his way to the 15 before the final horn sounded.
After the game, the fact that his offense had put up 85 yards strictly by passing the game on the final drive was little consolation for Jackson.
“We have the tools to do that,” Jackson said. “It’s not something they were raised on but its something that might take some heat off our running game.”
Jackson credited the defense for stepping up and adjusting in the second half of the game saying: “I’m glad we had the wherewithal to make the change when we needed to.”
Hood River now goes on a two game road swing starting Friday night against Reynolds at Mt. Hood Community College at 7 p.m.