Story and Video By SAM McGAW
The Centennial Cougars enter Week 2 focused on their opportunity to get an early jump in the District 11-AAA standings Friday when they visit the winless Brentwood Bruins.
Centennial (2-0, 0-0) at Brentwood High (0-2, 0-0), 7 p.m.*
With a 2-0 record under their belts, the Centennial Cougars enter Week 2 of the regular season ready to make an early jump in the District 11-AAA standings when they visit the winless Brentwood Bruins.
Last season, the Cougars defeated the Bruins 31-20 for their first-ever win over their district foe.
This year, they expect nothing short of a battle against a team that has its back against the wall.
“What I’m expecting to see is a full effort out of a Bruin team, who I’m sure they’re going to feel like their back is kind of against the wall,” said CHS head coach Brian Rector. “I’ve been talking to my team about that all week is that we’re going to have to match the intensity. We may even have to withstand a wave of momentum at a time or two during the game.
“But ultimately, we have to be able to not beat ourselves, get a hat on a hat blocking and just give great effort, which I think we can make that happen.”
One of the top priorities for the Cougars’ defense this Friday is containing Brentwood quarterback Carson Croy.
So far this season, Croy has 289 passing yards, 30 rushing yards, one interception and two total touchdowns (1 rush).
“(Croy) does a great job extending plays with his feet, and that’s not easy to do,” Rector said. “The casual fan can sit in the stands and say ‘don’t let him out of the pocket, quit letting this happen,’ etc., but it’s really hard to keep an athlete like that bottled up in a 5-6-7-yard area, especially when he doesn’t want to be.”
|Bruins QB Carson Croy has 289 passing yards and two total TDs this season|
Offensively, the Cougars will look for running back Deon Sanders (137 rush yards, 26 receiving yards, 3 TDs) and wide receiver Emanuel Hall (186 receiving yards, 31 rush yards, 3 TDs) to provide a spark against a Brentwood defense that’s allowed 36.5 points per game this fall.
In last week’s 28-21 win against Overton, Hall had four receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns, while Sanders picked up 102 rushing yards and one score.
Sanders, who exploded for 326 rushing yards and four touchdowns in last season’s win, said he wants nothing more than to take the Bruins down for a second year in a row.
“I know they want to get after us to get revenge from last year. But hopefully, with our coaching staff and with our guys, we aren’t going to let it happen… After them beating us for 17 or 18 years, or whatever it is…we’re going to try to swing that pendulum back to the power cat, as Coach Rector said today.”
BHS head coach Mike Woodward said the combination of Sanders and Hall presents a tough challenge for his defense.
|Centennial WR Emanuel Hall has 186 receiving yards and 3 TDs this season|
“They have a two-headed monster because Sanders requires a lot of attention,” he said. “So, you start committing guys to him, you find yourself in a one-on-one matchup with (Hall). That’s a matchup Centennial’s going to like because he’s one of the best receivers around and can win those one-on-one matchups.
Brentwood gave up 288 rushing yards in last week’s 42-21 loss to Blackman. In order to prevent Centennial from having similar success this Friday, the Bruins have to become the aggressor when facing a big back like Sanders.
“He is strong in the lower body and he keeps his feet moving on contact,” Woodward said. “Very rarely is the first guy or the second guy going to bring him down. You have to rally to the football. As a defense, you have to be willing to drive your feet and be willing to knock heads, or else he can wear on you for the course of the game.”
When it comes to facing Centennial’s defense, Woodward said his players must avoid their constant mistakes if they want any chance of moving the ball down the field.
“It seems like every week we’re doing something, whether it’s a penalty, or an inaccurate throw or a drop,” he said. “We just have to be more smart with the ball and then once we’re more consistent with that short-yardage stuff, then I may be willing to take a shot at making a play downfield.”