Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 | 12:56 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go over the high school football postseason picture and reflect on how it got to this point. The episode also contains a lengthy segment debating who is the Southeast Division MVP — Niko Kapeli, Kyle Keplinger, Aaron Love or Chris Marshall.
It was the Diamondbacks who made the critical late-game error Friday night and the Bulldogs who took advantage of it. Desert Oasis muffed a punt with five minutes remaining at its 22-yard line that Centennial’s Andrew Romoff recovered.
Less than a minute later, after a 20-yard run by Jacobi Owens, Coby Newton powered his way into the end zone for a game-winning two-yard touchdown. Centennial 21, Desert Oasis 14.
“When I saw them muff the punt, I was like ‘this game is ours,’” Owens said. “They messed up. We were going to capitalize.”
The Centennial defense held up its end in the final minutes of the game. The Bulldogs found the perfect time to put together its two best defensive possessions of the evening.
On Desert Oasis’ first play after Newton’s touchdown, Isiac Catmull intercepted a Herman Smith pass for Centennial. Although the Bulldogs couldn’t convert the turnover into points and gave the ball right back, the defense held strong again.
“I’m very proud of the defense,” Centennial coach Leon Evans said. “In the second half, they turned the volume up a little bit and got to the quarterback often.”
After trailing 7-0 at halftime, Centennial looked like a different team in the final 24 minutes. The Bulldogs contained the Diamondbacks explosive Trevon Barnes, who rushed for most of his 176 yards in the first half, more effectively.
But the biggest change came on offense where Centennial changed its approach entirely.
“We came out and thought we’d line up with two backs and two tight ends and run the football,” Evans said. “They put a stop to that early. So we had to spread it out a little bit to get some running lanes and dump out some short passes.”
After a first half that saw the passing game barely account for positive yards, junior quarterback Austin Turley broke out in the second. He finished 11-for-19 for 130 yards and a touchdown, which Cody Milford took in from 40 yards to tie the game at 7.
Desert Oasis answered that score as Barnes reached the end zone for the second time a couple minutes before the fourth quarter.
But Milford, who had five catches for 91 yards, and Owens, who rushed 23 times for 124 yards, set Centennial up for a touchdown on its next possession. Newton wrecked his way in from the 2-yard line, the first of two identical scores for the junior fullback.
It was the second straight year Centennial traveled to Desert Oasis and escaped with a victory in the first round of the playoffs.
“Last year, everyone thought we were the Cinderella team,” Owens said. “They just thought we were just good for one year. No, we are really good. We can play with anyone in the city.”