Friday, Sept. 28, 2018 | 11:09 p.m.
Faith Lutheran took control from the opening kickoff — literally — and rolled to a 36-7 home win over Centennial on Friday.
Centennial opened the game with a surprise onside kick, but the ploy backfired when Faith Lutheran gained possession easily and drove 38 yards in 10 plays before kicking a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
The score remained 3-0 late into the first quarter, when the game’s key sequence unfolded. Faith Lutheran quarterback Sagan Gronauer was intercepted at his own 11-yard line, giving Centennial an excellent opportunity to punch in a touchdown and take the lead. Instead, Bulldogs QB Colton Tenney was sacked on the next three plays — the first two coming after fumbled exchanges with the center — and Centennial was forced to settle for a 42-yard field goal attempt.
Faith cornerback Greg Oliver blocked the kick and the ball caromed into the open field, where linebacker Hunter Kaupiko scooped it up and ran 67 yards the other way for a demoralizing touchdown.
“Greg Oliver blocked it, and he kind of pushed the ball forward,” Kaupiko said. “I grabbed it and ran, and no one chased me. It was a great feeling.”
Things continued to go downhill for Centennial. The Bulldogs’ ensuing possession was cut short when Oliver intercepted a pass inside the 20. Two plays later, running back Marcos Canales sliced through the defense for an 11-yard touchdown to put Faith Lutheran ahead, 16-0.
Gronauer connected with receiver Keegan Bunn in the front corner of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown pass with 2:45 left in the half to make it 22-0. Another Gronauer touchdown pass in the third quarter made it 29-0 and ended any chance of a competitive game.
Gronauer completed 17-of-27 passes on the night for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and the Idaho State commit hit seven different receivers.
“I feel like we were able to spread the ball around,” said Faith Lutheran head coach Vernon Fox. “I think Sagan did a good job of picking the open spots and hitting guys in space and giving them opportunities to run and make plays.”
Canales ran for 101 yards on 15 carries. Vernon Noah caught six passes for 54 yards and Keegan Bunn caught four balls for 37 yards and a touchdown.
Faith Lutheran improved to 3-3 with the win, and the Crusaders will take that momentum into next week’s anticipated matchup against Arbor View.
Fox was glad his team was able to focus on the game at hand and dispatch Centennial.
“I think they’re all important,” Fox said. “Obviously, when you’re playing in conference these games matter a ton, especially when you’re in the conference that we’re in. We know it’s competitive every week. We can’t afford to come in and sleep on anyone. We’ve got to bring our ‘A’ game every week.”