Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Frisco Centennial holds Red Oak to 36 yards rushing, forces 4 turnovers in 40-14 win
ROYSE CITY — Frisco Centennial was out after three rounds of the playoffs last season. But on Friday night, the three-and-out was a big reason the Titans are still in.
Time after time, Red Oak was forced to punt after three plays as Centennial’s defense dominated in a 40-14 victory at Royse City ISD Stadium. The victory put Centennial (12-1) into the fourth round of the playoffs for the first time.
“We knew we could control their running game, because we’ve done it against some of the top running backs in the area,” said senior defensive back Ranthony Texada. “We wanted to get them out of their game.”
Centennial will face Tyler John Tyler in the Class 4A Division I Region II final at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Ennis. Tyler’s high-powered offense will be a big test, but the Titans earned high marks against Red Oak.
Red Oak (9-4), which had won six straight, was averaging 255 yards rushing per game. But it managed only 36 yards on 29 carries against Centennial, which extended its win streak to eight games. Red Oak actually had a net rushing loss until the third quarter, and star running back Cameron Bausley finished with only 24 yards rushing.
Centennial also intercepted three passes, recovered a Red Oak fumble and forced seven punts. Red Oak didn’t get into Centennial territory until it recovered an onside kick to start the second half.
The recovered kick looked like it could be a huge momentum-changer after Red Oak drove 49 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-7. Red Oak followed up the touchdown by forcing a punt and had a chance to squirm back into the game.
But once again, the Centennial defense won the battle. The Titans forced a three-and-out, Red Oak’s sixth of the game. On third-and-2, Bausley was stuffed by a trio of Centennial defensive linemen.
After the Red Oak punt that followed, Centennial drove 54 yards for a touchdown to expand the lead to 26-7 with a minute left in the third. The touchdown was on a 4-yard run by quarterback Lamar Jordan, who completed 19 of 34 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown.
Centennial took a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game on a 12-yard drive set up by a bad snap to the Red Oak punter. But Centennial’s offense needed a quarter to get going, and it didn’t score again until Kamari Burnett smashed into the end zone from 1 yard out with 6:35 left in the half.
But the night belonged to the Titans’ defense, which dominated from front to back.
“It’s the old cliché,” Centennial coach Mark Howard said, “that offense wins games, but defense wins championships.”
Yes, it’s a cliché. But that’s because it’s been proven true so many times.