The University City (UC) Centurions suffered a tough 38-35 shootout loss to the Madison Warhawks in a Central League football game at Madison on Friday, Nov. 9.
“We wanted to dominate the game,” Warhawk sophomore quarterback Lester Fontenette (4-of-8 passing, 1 touchdown) said.
Early on, the Madison rushing attack was dominant as junior running back Robbie Rouse (23 carries, 252 yards) ripped off a 54-yard touchdown run to give the Warhawks a 7-0 lead with 1:14 left in the first quarter.
“We came out to play football tonight,” Fontenette said. “We were ready.”
Senior defensive back Phillip Fowler proved that he was ready by intercepting a pass and returning it for a 31-yard touchdown with 1:01 remaining in the first period. That put Madison up by a margin of 14-0.
“You have to give UC credit,” Fontenette said. “They could’ve quit, but they battled back.”
The Centurions came right back when junior quarterback Skyler Dougherty delivered a 9-yard touchdown pass to Travis Parkyn to cut the Warhawk cushion to 14-7 with 10:33 left in the second quarter. The touchdown was set up on a 35-yard run by senior running back Alex Scarlett.
“UC was ready to play football too,” Fontenette said. “They came out and dominated, as well. They were a really good team.”
Scarlett looked really good rumbling for touchdowns of 25 and 16 yards, respectively. Those scores were set up on an interception and a punt return by senior defensive back Cassius Mathius moments earlier and made the score 21-14 in favor of the Centurions with 4:45 remaining in the second period.
“UC thought they were going to upset us,” Fontenette said. “They had the whole thing planned out.”
With 0:14 left on the clock, one thing the Centurions didn’t plan on was Fontenette hitting junior wide receiver Terrance Harris for a 25-yard gain to bring the ball down to the UC 2 yard line. Fontenette’s heave to Harris set up a touchdown run by senior Carlton Billingslea, tying the game at 21-21 heading to the locker room at halftime.
“I want us to make it to the CIF Finals at Qualcomm Stadium,” Fontenette said. “I want us to be dominant and show that we are not a weak team.”
After the intermission, Madison looked anything but weak on the opening drive of the second half as Fontenette fired an 11-yard scoring strike to Harris. The drive itself covered 77 yards and widened the Warhawk window of opportunity to 28-21 with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter.
“The Central League title usually comes down to either Madison (7-2, 4-0 in league play) or Coronado (6-3, 3-1),” Centurions coach Patrick Coleman said. “But last year, we were playing in the league championship game.”
This time around, UC (4-5, 2-2) was once again playing for a league title, albeit a share. After a 26-yard field goal by senior kicker Jordan Lindsey extended the Warhawk advantage to 31-21, Parkyn went to work for the Centurions. The junior found a parking spot in the end zone on a 30-yard touchdown run to slice the gap to 31-28 with 9:12 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“A Central League title is what we worked for,” Coleman said. “Every day in spring football and summer camp, after we huddled, we always broke by saying ‘championships.’”
Madison would have something to say about that as Fontenette forced his way in on a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Warhawks a 38-28 edge with 6:42 left in the fourth period.
“We talked about winning not only the Central League title, but also a Division III title,” Coleman said. “That’s our goal. In my opinion, if we’re not here to win championships, then what are we doing here?”
UC showed a championship mentality as Dougherty threw a 27-yard dart for a touchdown to junior running back Andrew Swasey to trim the deficit to 38-35 with 4:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“This school hasn’t won a league title in 20 years,” Coleman said. “We feel that it’s our turn.”
It looked like it was their turn when the Centurions had Madison stopped on 4th-and-6 at the Warhawk 48-yard line. But Rouse took a direct snap on a fake punt to get the first down and secure Madison’s third Central League title in four years.