It was a homecoming to remember. Centerville and Chariton engaged in a hard-nosed, physical football game in front of a rowdy homecoming crowd sheltered in sweatshirts and wrapped in blankets on a brisk night at Paul Johnson Field. In the end, the Big Reds would send their fans home happy with Centerville pulling out a 14-13 thriller over Chariton.
Centerville got the start they wanted. After giving up a pair of 15-yard runs to Chariton running back Dylan Cain to open the game, the Big Reds were able to shutdown the run, forcing Chariton to punt in their first three possessions.
Offensively, they were able to get a monkey off their back by getting a touchdown in the first half for the first time since week two against Davis County.
It started with McCain Oden breaking off a tough 46-yard run up the right sideline to get deep into Chariton territory. One play later saw Quinton Koestner keep the read option and dive past the goal line for the six-yard touchdown to put Centerville ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter.
When these two teams meet, the focus is always on the line of scrimmage. Last year it was all Chariton, but this year saw the Big Reds really control the trenches well. Centerville would rush for 178 yards with Koestner accounting for 95 yards and two touchdowns while Oden added another 83 yards on 12 carries.
Centerville simplified their passing game with a lot of quick wide receiver screens with Chariton playing off for most of the night. As a result, Koestner completed 11 of his 18 passes for 74 yards.
Midway through the second quarter, Chariton looked to be putting together a solid drive on the Centerville side of 50 before Cade Moore would get good pressure on Charger quarterback Graden Arnold, forcing him to float one deep towards the right sideline. Trent McCann was able to easily step in front of the Chariton receiver to pick it off and halt the Charger drive.
Unfortunately for Centerville, they would give it right back on a rare McCain Oden fumble. Chariton would cash in on the turnover six plays later with Arnold hitting Payton Lavender in the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown to tie the game at seven going into the half.
Chariton would try to catch Centerville off-guard to start the second half but it would backfire on them. The Big Reds recovered the kick on their own 39 setting up a 61-yard rushing touchdown by Koestner (his second of the night) to put Centerville ahead 14-7 early in the third.
On the ensuing possession, Chariton looked like they were bound to respond with points of their own before a poor exchange from cause a fumble recovered by Cade Moore on Centerville’s 21 yard line. Centerville win the turnover battle on the night 3-1.
Chariton would get their big play late in the third quarter with Arnold connecting with Jackson Curnutte deep over the middle for a 90-yard touchdown. It looked like they were going to tie up the game before what would be the game-winning block of the PAT by the big paw of Brady Clark to help Centerville maintain a 14-13 lead.
The Chargers would have one more good chance late in the fourth quarter with three deep passes into Centerville territory. The Big Reds stayed tight on their coverage as the last throw would be juggled by the Chariton receiver before hitting the ground to turn the ball back over to Centerville.
Needing only one first down to put the game on ice, Oden (the homecoming king for Centerville this year) would lead a rugby scrum pile nine yards to convert on third down and give Centerville a 14-13 homecoming victory.
The win improves Centerville to 1-1 in district play and 3-3 overall to keep them in the playoff race.
Centerville (3-3, 1-1) will have their last road game of the year on Friday at 7 p.m. in Osceola against Clarke (3-3, 1-1)
Centerville 14, Chariton 13
CHA 0 7 6 0
CEN 7 0 7 0
CEN — Koestner 6-yard rushing TD. PAT is good (7-0, 3:47)
CHA — Arnold pass to Lavender for 33-yard TD. PAT is good (7-7, 2:30)
CEN — Koestner 61-yard rushing TD. PAT is good (14-7, 11:45)
CHA — Arnold pass to Curnutte for 90-yard TD. PAT is no good (14-13, 1:19)
Centerville Individual Stats
Passing — Koestner 11/18 74 yards
Rushing — Koestner 19-95 2 TDs, Oden 12-83
Receiving — Carson 5-52, McCann 5-23, Moorman 1-(-1)
Top-three tackles — Oden 11.5, Kroeger 8.5, Moore 7.5
Sacks — Oden 1
Interceptions-Return — McCann 1-6
Fumble Recoveries-Return — Moore 1-0, Sedgwick 1-0