By Morgan Bryce
Central dismantled Smiths Station 49-0 during the annual “Backyard Brawl” rivalry game last Friday night held at Panther Stadium.
Smiths Station’s Mike Glisson said his team was simply overmatched by a Central squad oozing with collegiate talent, but was impressed by their determination and fight for four quarters.
“Central is really, really good. We got a ways to go (as a program), and I knew that coming in,” Glisson said. “I thought my kids played their butts off in the first half. This bunch was 0-10 last year, and for them to come out and play a team of that caliber that hard is a testament to those kids, and I’m proud of them.”
Both teams exchanged punts and turnovers on downs for most of a defense-dominant first quarter.
A masterful punt bogged Central inside its own two-yard line, but four plays later, junior quarterback and LSU commit Kaden Melton hooked up with Zakavious Jakes for an 85-yard touchdown for the first score of the night.
Fewer than five minutes later, Central pounced on a Smiths Station fumble inside the Panther two-yard line to set up their next score, a bullish run from senior Red Devils running back Amontae Faison.
Trailing 14-0 early in the second quarter, Smiths Station mounted a furious drive, relying on explosive rushing plays from L.C. Harris to march down the field. Nearing the red zone, the Panthers ran out of steam and would turn the ball over on downs.
Faison would add another touchdown later in the quarter to give the Red Devils a comfortable 21-0 halftime advantage.
After another unsuccessful drive to start the second half, Smiths Station punted to Central.
Starting at their own 28-yard line, the Red Devils methodically moved the ball on the ground with Faison, who added his third and final score of the night on a 33-yard romp through the Panther defense.
On the ensuing drive, a low snap rolled back to Smiths Station punter Jamieson Douglas, which would be picked up by a charging Marquez Henry and returned 31 yards for another Central touchdown.
Late in the third quarter, senior Central quarterback Peter Parrish orchestrated another beautifully balanced touchdown drive, capping it off with a five-yard toss to Eddie Williams for a score.
Enter the fourth quarter, both teams began subbing in second, third and fourth-string players to gain experience and playing time.
Little-to-no action occurred until the 2:29 mark of the fourth quarter, when Central backups Trey Miles and Kenner Butler connected for a 29-yard TD and final score in the 49-0 contest.
As the Panthers gear up for their road trip to Enterprise next Friday, Glisson said he and his plan to closely evaluate film and assess the areas in which they need to improve as the season progresses.
“We gotta take what we did well and try and do better at it everyday. We’ll see what we did well, see what we did bad, and we’re going to do our best to fix it,” Glisson said.
Smiths Station (2-1 overall, 0-1 in region) will travel to Enterprise next Friday for a 7 p.m. tilt against the Wildcats. Central (3-0 overall, 1-0 in region) will travel to Prattville.