Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 | 1:12 a.m.
Bishop Gorman vs. Palo Verde. Arbor View vs. Centennial. The start of the Sunrise region playoffs. The semifinals of the Division 1A playoffs. It's a packed week of high school football for Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer to break down on this episode of Prep Sports Now.
Highway patrolmen may want to keep an eye out for Centennial senior Coby Newton.
If the star running back’s play on the football field at all resembles his driving, Newton would rather plow right through a “Road Closed” sign than take the convenient detour.
On one otherwise nondescript play from Friday night’s Sunset semifinal game at Arbor View, Newton sprinted to the line with a force of a V8 engine but a mass of bodies had piled up in his running lane. Instead of trying to bounce the play outside where he could have gotten tripped up for a loss, Newton dove over the top and flipped head-first for a gain of three yards.
It was a wild run even for a player as fearless as Newton.
“There was a little extra adrenaline going tonight for Arbor View,” Newton explained. “The hype of our coaches, my teammates and the sideline gave me a little extra pop.”
Centennial rode that motivation and Newton, who had 30 carries for 115 yards, to one of the biggest victories in school history. Not only did the Bulldogs snap the Aggies' nine-game winning streak, they ended their previously undefeated rival’s season prematurely.
Centennial 14, Arbor View 9.
“It was huge for our program,” Centennial coach Leon Evans said. “The three years I’ve been here, we haven’t beaten these guys. We’ve been in the position the last two years. We told the kids that if we wanted to take the next step, our goal was to get to the Sunset championship, we needed to get through these guys.”
Seven weeks ago, Arbor View had pushed Centennial around en route a 31-18 victory. The Cougars knew they would have to surpass the Aggies' considerable toughness in the rematch.
That could explain why Newton ran straight up the middle on each of the Bulldogs first five plays. It’s also why Evans preached what he called a “bend but don’t break” philosophy to his defense all week.
After trailing 14-6 at halftime, Arbor View got into the red zone three times in the second half against Centennial. The Aggies only came away with a combined three points, a 35-yard field goal from Zach Boyd, in those trips.
Deandre White caused and recovered a fumble at the 19-yard line late in the third quarter. Three minutes into the fourth quarter, Brandt Honda picked off a pass at the 8-yard line.
“It’s what our defense does,” Newton said. “They bring it to you and play smash-mouth football.”
The Bulldogs defense wasn’t finished yet. After a Blake Frischknecht punt that pinned Arbor View at its own 3-yard line, the Aggies had four minutes to go on a potential game-winning drive down the field.
They picked up a couple first downs before Centennial defensive lineman Jordan Karst took over the game. Karst — with help from cohorts Jade Richardson, Jonathan Tanner and Trajan Pili — had two sacks and nearly a third in four plays, including on a 4th-and-2 with 1:28 remaining to all but clinch the victory.
“They just got into a zone and played great,” Evans said of his defense.
The defense was dominant in the first half, limiting Arbor View to just one first down. The Aggies' lone score came when Jacob Speaks broke loose for a 61-yard touchdown run — one play after his teammate Jacob Parker picked off a Centennial pass — to go up 6-0.
Speaks accounted for 166 yards of offense, edging Centennial quarterback Austin Turley’s 119 for the game-high.
Turley threw a 20-yard strike to Honda for the Bulldogs first touchdown. Turley’s rushing helped set up the second Centennial score, where Newton fumbled into the end zone after a four-yard run but the Bulldogs recovered.
“If you give me the ball, I’ll make plays,” Newton said. “We needed first downs to keep moving the ball and that’s what I’m good at — lowering my shoulder, banging through the hole and getting first downs.”
Everyone on hand Friday night, especially the Arbor View defenders, can attest to that. Newton ran harder than ever for a reason.
“Revenge was the feeling,” Newton said. “It was a big part of it. We needed to come out here and show we were the better football team, a better football team than the first time.”
Centennial will look to do the same next week when it travels to Bishop Gorman for the Sunset regional finals. The three-time defending state champion Gaels beat the Bulldogs 49-20 last month.