Saturday’s Prep Football: Centralia Puts G.W. Graham Away Early
The ‘Eh’ Team: Sobolesky-Reynolds Tallies Three First Half TDs
By Jordan Nailon
Centralia tried their hand at a little diplomacy here at Tiger Stadium on Saturday.
Hosting the G.W. Graham Grizzlies out of Chilliwack, British Columbia, the Tigers let “O’ Canada” flow respectfully from the speakers before the game and then made sure to shake hands with their international opponents after the final whistle blew. After getting their fill of of offense in the first half the home team even let their guests from the Great White North punch in a few souvenir touchdowns.
Looking back on their 44-21 victory in the cultural exchange, the Tigers probably could have let their visitors feel a little more comfortable, although they weren’t too concerned with hurting anyone’s feelings.
Chase Sobolesky-Reynolds was perhaps the least gracious Tiger in the contest as he scored three first half touchdowns that helped to take the fight out of the Grizzlies early on. His first score, on the Tigers first possession of the game, came at the end of a five yard run that capped a 51-yard, five minute drive that saw five Tigers tote the rock. Crystian Bean set that scoring drive up with an interception at midfield.
Sobolesky-Reynolds didn’t need any help at all on his second score after he jumped a short passing route and then ran away from everyone for a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown. His third score was another turf burning spectacle as Cameron Erickson hit him in stride on a fade for a 48-yard touchdown strike with just 20 second left in the half.
“I think he’s played well for us all year. He’s a wiry little guy. It’s hard to find him,” said Centralia coach Jeremy Thibault of his sophomore do-it-all who was also successful on all six of his point-after kicks on Saturday.
On the first play of the second quarter, Erickson dropped back on 4th-and-7 from the 11 yard line and found Benito Valencia open on a slant route that netted another touchdown for the Tigers. Erickson finished the game having connected on 5 of his 16 passes for a total of 140 yards, and three touchdowns.
“He makes plays so we just let him go until we need to call him back a little bit,” said Thibault of his first-year signal caller.
With their blitzkrieg start, Centralia took a 28-0 lead into halftime. The break seemed to take a bit of the bite out of the Tigers, though. Maybe they were trying to make sure their guests felt at home, or maybe they just became a little complacent. Either way, while the Canadian Grizzlies were never able to claw back into contention, they did find quite a bit more room to spread out in the second half.
Thibault made sure to note that there was no consideration given by the coaching staff to take it easy on their opponents from the maple scented hinterlands.
“I think our kids had that in their mind. We had to get on them a little bit because they were celebrating like we just won the Super Bowl even though 3-1 in non-league means zero,” the Tigers’ coach said. “It’s tough. You can’t get on them too much because they haven’t had this type of success yet so it’s just a tight line that we walk. But we had no intention of taking it easy. It’s a football game.”
The Grizzlies finally got on the board with just under four minutes left in the third quarter when quarterback Grayson Frick hit Josh Caverly with a 12-yard touchdown pass. Shortly thereafter, the Tigers’ defense made sure to get some for themselves when they pushed the Grizzlies back to their own goal line and set Jacob Halseth up for a tackle in the end zone that netted a two-point safety score.
In the fourth quarter, Erickson connected with Bean for a 34-yard scoring strike through the air and Braidyn Hoyt capped the Tigers’ scoring effort with a 9-yard ramble into the end zone with just over seven minutes left in the contest. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies notched a touchdown on a 22-yard pass from Frick to Caverly in the fourth quarter and then added another late score when they let Mason Murphy, a portly starting lineman, tote the pigskin the final four yards for a touchdown.
In addition to the gains of Sobolesky-Reynolds and Erickson, it was Hoyt who wound up leading the Tigers charge with 97 yards on 13 carries. Blaine Wass added 36 rushing yards on four touches and Andrew Mitchell gained 52 yards on seven carries. The Tigers picked up 354 yards on the ground in all.
“We’ve been bit by the injury bug so it’s forced us to get other guys in and they’ve been stepping up and playing,” explained Thibault of his deep stable of running backs. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can run the ball and we’re just going to keep pounding it.”
Centralia (3-1) will open 2A Evergreen Conference play next Friday at Aberdeen.
TIGERS 44, GRIZZLIES 21
G.W. Graham 0 0 6 15 — 21
Centralia 7 21 2 14 — 44
CEN — Chase Sobolesky-Reynolds 5-yard run; Sobolesky-Reynolds kick
CEN — Cameron Erickson 11-yard pass to Benito Valencia; Sobolesky-Reynolds kick
CEN — Sobolesky-Reynolds 66-yard interception return; Sobolesky-Reynolds kick
CEN — Erickson 48-yard pass to Sobolesky-Reynolds; Sobolesky-Reynolds kick
GWW — Grayson Frick 12-yard pass to Josh Caverly; kick failed
CEN — Jacob Halseth tackle for safety
CEN — Erickson 34-yard pass to Crystian Bean; Sobolesky-Reynolds kick
GWW — Frick 22-yard pass to Caverly; Colby Bessette 2-point run
CEN — Braidyn Hoyt 9-yard run; Sobolesky-Reynolds kick
GWW — Mason Murphy 4-yard run; Jaxson Visser
Team Stats GWW CEN
First Downs 13 19
Rushing Yards 90 354
Passing Yards 187 140
Total Yards 277 494
Comp-Att-Int 17-30-2 5-16-1
Fumbles/Lost 2/0 3/1
Penalties/Yards 13/120 8/90
Rushing: GWW — Jaiden Claassen 7/38, Kaleb Spanner 4/16, Grayson Frick 9/55; CEN — Braidyn Hoyt 13/97, Blaine Wass 4/36, Andrew Mitchell 7/52
Passing: GWW — Grayson Frick 15-28/147, Colby Bessette 1-1/40; CEN — Cameron Erickson 5-16/140
Receiving: GWW — Colby Bessette 3/26, Josh Caverly 2/34; CEN — Colby Sobolesky-Reynolds 1/48, Andrew Mitchell 1/30, Benito Valencia 1/11