Centennial football coach Leon Evans knew his team had a tough sandwich game on its hands Friday.
After getting blasted by Arbor View last week, and with Palo Verde on deck next week, Shadow Ridge was coming in after a bye week looking to feed off a blowout win over Rancho two weeks prior.
“We haven’t brought up last week, and we’ve never mentioned Palo,” Evans said before the game. “We’re staying focused on Shadow Ridge.”
It didn’t look that way after the Bulldogs took a 6-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. But a 57-yard touchdown run by Lantz Worthington 2:22 into in the third quarter sparked Centennial to a second-half surge that allowed it to pull away for a 40-7 win over the Mustangs.
“We knew it, we changed our offense, and the kids were throwing their way around trying to get things going, and tonight we finally got our feet wet and got it going tonight,” Evans said.
Worthington finished with 164 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries to lead the Bulldogs (1-2).
“We just played together as a team,” Worthington said. “The line gave me real good blocking, so I was able to find the holes and showcase some of my talent. I just give it all up to the line, because without them, there wouldn’t have been any touchdowns.”
After Worthington’s 57-yard scamper put Centennial up 13-0, the Mustangs (1-2) showed plenty of mettle by marching down the field, methodically working their way through Centennial’s defense. Using eight plays and a pair of Centennial offsides penalties, Shadow Ridge had the ball at the Bulldogs’ 34-yard line when defensive back Samuel Liaga recorded his second interception of the night to thwart the drive.
Evans then made a switch at quarterback, replacing starter Kendal-Klye Carden with Coll Thomson, and the move paid off as Thomson fired a 56-yard touchdown strike to Jordan Kirchner with 5:31 left in the third quarter.
“The line gave me so much time, it was really just a team effort, and Jordan was wide open so it worked out,” Thomson said.
The 5-foot-11-inch senior completed his only other pass attempt to Kirchner, a 41-yard touchdown that put Centennial on top 26-7 at the 3:23 mark of the third quarter.
“The last couple weeks we haven’t put any points on the board and we said, ‘We need to make a change, maybe shake things up a bit,’ and we did that. He came out and hit two strikes for us that were huge,” Evans said. “And I don’t think (Carden) did anything wrong, we just needed something to (make us) go. He’s been doing a great job for us, and we just felt we needed to make a change, maybe get something going.”
Carden completed 5 of 8 pass attempts for 40 yards, with a touchdown and one interception.
Shadow Ridge quarterback Dustin Puia finished 10-for-31 for 142 yards and one touchdown, but was intercepted four times — Liaga and Hunter Brown each had two picks.
Running back Cody Alfar rushed for 46 yards on 18 attempts for the Mustangs.