OSCEOLA — The first real frigid football night saw a pair of teams hungry for a win to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. Centerville would travel to Osceola and come away with a convincing 43-13 win over the Clarke Indians.
With the temperature sitting in the 30’s, this caused several problems for the boys on the field. It took them a little time to get acclimated to the hard football as Centerville had a couple of bad snaps and Clarke lost two fumbles to the Big Reds’ Gage Moorman.
The Big Reds have now won the turnover battle in each of their last two games by forcing seven turnovers (four against Clarke) while only giving away two. Limiting those mistakes while taking advantage of their opponent’s has been huge.
Centerville got their first score after starting on Clarke’s 24-yard line after a bad Indian punt. Quinton Koestner would go right up the middle for a 13-yard rushing touchdown to put the Big Reds ahead 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
It was Koestner’s lone touchdown on the night but he did well controlling the balanced offense, finishing with 89 rushing yards on 10 carries while completing seven of his 12 passes for 97 yards.
Then after Clarke’s second fumble, Centerville would once again start in deep plus territory. McCain Oden scored his first of four touchdowns on the night by taking the wildcat snap and grinding seven yards up the middle for a touchdown.
Oden returned to form on Friday, hitting his holes and being a tough tackle for the Clarke defense as the senior running back finished with 117 yards on 16 carries to go along with five tackles defensively.
After an Indian missed field goal, Centerville would march down the field with Oden’s 12-yard rushing touchdown capping a seven-play, 80-yard drive that would put Centerville ahead 21-0 at the half.
Clarke would try to catch Centerville by surprise to start the half by trying to recover an onside kick. Instead, the Big Reds would recover to set up another short field for the offense.
Oden would break off an 18-yard touchdown run with a two-point conversion to give Centerville a comfortable 29-0 lead.
Centerville would later go on a 11-play, 63-yard touchdown drive over four minutes. Oden finished the drive with another five-yard touchdown out of the wildcat to put the Big Reds ahead 36-0 after three quarters.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Centerville backup quarterback Sawyer Wardlow would drop the candy right into the basket with a perfect throw to Gage Carson deep up the right sideline for a 25-yard touchdown.
Carson had one of his best games of the season, catching eight passes for 122 yards and one touchdown.
With a running clock, Clarke would spoil the shutout with a pair of late touchdowns.
With the win, Centerville remains in the playoff hunt. They will need to win their final two games while Des Moines Christian would have to drop their final two. If Centerville doesn’t get help from DMC, they will still have an outside chance to get an at-large bid if they win out.
Centerville (4-3, 2-1) returns home on Friday at 7 p.m. to face Saydel (0-7, 0-3)