Eagles headed back to the quarterfinals
By: SCOTT JOINER
ELTON — After a scoreless opening quarter, Central Catholic’s football team took control and won in convincing fashion, 41-7, over Elton in the Class 1A regional playoffs on Friday.
CCHS coach David Fuhrer and Elton coach Kevin Bertrand have been friends for several years and both seemed to enjoy coaching against an old friend.
“I would rather him not have such a good team,” Bertrand said, “but I love David. He and I have been knowing each other for so long. I’m happy for him and I hope they go a long way in the playoffs.”
Fuhrer said he didn’t expect the score to be as lopsided as it was, but the Eagles’ speed gave them the edge.
“Our kids played very hard, executed the game plan and my hat’s off to Elton. I knew coming in it was going to be a tough, hard-fought game and early on we just didn’t do a whole lot of things wrong,” Fuhrer said. “We gave up that touchdown, but I just think our guys played hard and I think we had a little bit too much speed for them.”
The No. 9 seed Eagles scored first in the second quarter on a 1-yard pass from Josh Singleton to Lloyd Grogan.
Singleton rolled to his left out of play action and hit Grogan just inside the end zone.
No. 8 Elton took advantage of a fumbled punt return at midfield and drove seven plays with Mica Lavan scoring on a run from 3 yards out to tie the game with 2 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the half.
On second-and-6 from the CCHS 49, the Eagles took the lead for good.
Singleton was under heavy pressure but scrambled long enough to find Grogan with a short pass. The Eagles’ senior playmaker quickly moved upfield and had two defensive backs in front of him playing the angles to make a tackle. Grogan’s speed and a 90-degree cut at the 20-yard line cleared the way for an easy jog to the end zone for a 14-7 Eagles lead.
“He’s remarkable when he makes plays like that,” Fuhrer said. “All our guys played hard tonight and were focused.”
After an Elton three-and-out, Singleton and Grogan met up again in similar fashion.
Singleton was under more pressure and scrambled with a wide-open Grogan waving his arms in the air at the 5-yard line. Singleton found just enough room to make the throw and Grogan scored easily against a flat-footed Indians secondary to extend the lead to 21-7.
“He’s an incredible athlete. He’s everything they said he was,” Bertrand said of Grogan. “He gave us trouble. We knew he would give us trouble with all his speed and athleticism — he took it to us.”
The last two minutes of the first half all but sealed the win after Elton had started to gain momentum following the touchdown.
“We executed well and played offense really well. We thought their defense would come harder,” Grogan said. “But, we just ended up stuffing it down their throats.”
Fuhrer said the two-minute drill is something the Eagles work on constantly and it paid off with 14 points.
“We practice our two minute drill every week and it’s something we do so the kids are used to it,” Fuhrer said. “Some of the plays we ran in the two-minute drill we practice, it’s just something we always do. It’s part of our offense. We’re up tempo and we just execute it and we’ve got guys that can make plays.”
Elton had to go to the air more often in the second half, which played the Eagles’ strengths on defense.
“That’s what we wanted to do. They have a very good running game and our game plan was to stop the run and force them to pass and that’s what happened,” Fuhrer said. “We took them out of the thing they do best.”
The Indians’ running game had been the catalyst late in the season, but managed just 97 yards on Friday.
“They jumped on us pretty quick and it took us a few series to kind of figure where we could hit them,” Bertrand said. “Once that happened, we were down, and we had to start throwing a little bit.”