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Centre football advances to second round

Staff writer

Centre Cougars defeated Marmaton Valley, 32-28, Thursday at Bud Peterson Field to advance to the second round of state playoffs.

They will play 6 p.m. Friday on the road at St. Paul. School will dismiss early at 1:30 p.m.

Damp, drizzly weather did a job on the football field as players dug in their heels and scrambled for rushing yards.

The two teams traded quarters in the first half. Centre reached the end zone twice in the first quarter on passes from quarterback Xavier Espinoza to Luke Hudson and Jensen Riffel. Marmaton Valley scored twice in the second quarter. No conversion points were made. The halftime score was 12-12.

Espinoza was knocked out of play in the second quarter but came back in the second half. After Marmaton Valley went ahead 20-12, Espinoza ran 48 yards for a touchdown, keeping the score tied 20-20 at the end of the third quarter.

Espinoza ran 46 yards for another touchdown to open the fourth quarter. Marmaton Valley answered with its own touchdown and two conversion points to take a 28-26 lead with 6:44 remaining.

Riffel made Centre’s final touchdown on a one-yard run. Marmaton Valley had a chance to score again, but Centre’s defense held, and the Cougars emerged with a six-point victory.

The two teams were almost evenly matched on the ground. Espinoza led Centre with 128 yards, followed by Riffel with 85.

Marmaton Valley completed just 20 yards in the air compared to 73 by Espinoza.

Riffel had three receptions for 53 yards. Aiden Svoboda had one for 15, and Luke Hudson had three for 53.

“It was a hard fought game that went back and forth,” coach Kelly Steiner said. “I was proud of how our players never gave up. We battled through adversity and came out on top. We will continue to work hard in practice as St. Paul is a very good football team.”

Centre will enter Thursday’s game with a record of 7-2. St. Paul is 8-1.

Last modified Oct. 31, 2018

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