GLADEVILLE —Wilson Central shook off what had been a pesky Lebanon team in the second half of a 43-6 victory on a frigid Friday night.
The Wildcats led 13-6 at halftime when Central punted. Regular punter Brad Cavanough didn’t do the booting, but he did make the key play. Cody Ray boomed a rugby kick 45 yards where Cavanough downed it at Lebanon’s 1-inch line.
Dalton Graves tackled Karlton Bruton in the end zone on the next play for a safety.
Alex Price returned the ensuing free kick to the Lebanon 26 and Vic Johnson scored on an 8-yard run two plays later to ignite the rout.
“Field position played a big part in the game and we were lucky enough to be on the good end of the field-position war,” Central coach Brad Dedman said after his Wildcats stayed solid in the playoff race at 5-4 for the season and 3-3 in District 9-AAA. “We got the safety off the punt which opened up the game.”
With the Blue Devil defense holding Central’s runners to 85 yards, quarterback Jordan Roundtree completed 11 of 19 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns – two to tight end Zack Dover covering 41 and 16 yards and the other to wingback Alex Price for 14.
“He’s been dealing with an ankle injury and this extra week he didn’t practice any during the off week,” Dedman said of his senior passer. “He just sat and watched and kind of coached a little bit and it definitely gave him a chance for his ankle to heal.
“They way they were playing us up front… they were playing Alex, they were playing Gabe [Angel] quite a bit. It left our tight end open.”
The Wildcats committed three first-half turnovers, including a muff after Preston Reed blocked Lebanon’s opening punt.
Blue Devil defensive end Byron Williams’ fumble recovery set up Taye Davis’ 28-yard scoring run in which he burst through the line and saw nothing but green grass the rest of the way for a 6-0 lead.
But Roundtree found Dover deep on a post pattern from 41 yards out for a 6-6 tie. Roundtree hit Price on a 14-yard fade to the right side of the end zone in the final minute of the first half for the 13-6 lead.
“I’d like to think we played them tough in the first half but we didn’t, really,” Lebanon coach Sam Harp said after his Blue Devils dropped to 2-7, 1-5. “We just kept shooting ourselves so many times in the foot [eight first-half penalties for 63 yards]. We’re thankful they had three turnovers in the first half so we could stay in it.
“It’s obvious I just didn’t do a very good job of coaching and give these kids some kind of way. It’s very disappointing in the very least.”
Lebanon’s attack was balanced, if not very productive. Christian Haffner hit 9 of 18 passes for 72 of the Blue Devils’ 150 total yards.
“Defense has got to have some offensive help,” Harp said. “We didn’t give them any help at all offensively. You got to give Wilson Central some credit. They handled the line of scrimmage all night long. They basically took charge inside. We couldn’t do anything inside and we weren’t very effective getting on the edge, either.”
Central finished off the Blue Devils with three fourth-quarter touchdowns as Roundtree hit Dover for a 16-yard score and Kaleb Butler punched it in from a yard out.
Cavanough, a safety in addition to his kicking/punting duties, returned an intercepted pass to the Lebanon 1. A personal foul and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty backed the ‘Cats to the 31. Didn’t matter as Central’s backup running backs drove the ball in with sophomore Jordan Wilson getting the final 11 yards.
Lebanon will travel to Beech next Friday to close the season at 7 p.m. Central will play host to Gallatin with the Wildcats looking to seal a playoff bid with their sixth win.
“We looked at this as a playoff game and it makes Gallatin next week even bigger,” Dedman said.
Wilson Central 43, Lebanon 6
Lebanon 6 0 0 0—6
Wilson Central 6 7 9 21—43
Lebanon—Taye Davis 28 run [kick failed], 7:17.
Wilson Central—Zack Dover 41 pass from Jordan Roundtree [kick failed], 4:31.
Wilson Central—Alex Price 14 pass from Roundtree [Brad Cavanough kick], :46.
Wilson Central—Safety. Dalton Graves tackles runner in end zone, 6:54.
Wilson Central—Vic Johnson 8 run [Cavanough kick], 6:25.
Wilson Central—Dover 16 pass from Roundtree [Cavanough kick], 10:01.
Wilson Central—Kaleb Butler 1 run [Cavanough kick], 6:03.
Wilson Central—Jordan Wilson 11 run [Cavanough kick], 3:34.
Lebanon Wilson Central
First downs 9 14
—Rushing 5 6
—Passing 3 7
—Penalty 1 1
Rushes-yards 33-78 34-85
Passing yards 72 189
Comp.-Att.-Int. 9-19-1 11-19-0
Total yards 150 274
Punts-avg. 8-24.25 5-40.0
Penalties-yards 9-68 8-91
Fumbles lost 0 3
RUSHING—Lebanon: Taye Davis 14-63, Christian Haffner 5-[-20], Jarren Stewart 6-14, Eddie McDaniels 1-2, Karlton Bruton 2-0, Ricky Lucious 3-14, Eduardo Alvarez 2-4. Wilson Central: Kaleb Butler 12-25, Jordan Roundtree 6-10, Alex Price 3-[-9], Vic Johnson 8-28, D’Sean Osborne 1-6, Jordan Wilson 2-15, Tyler McBurney 2-10.
PASSING—Lebanon: Taye Davis 0-1-0—0, Christian Haffner 9-18-1—72. Wilson Central: Jordan Roundtree 11-19-0—189.
RECEIVING—Lebanon: Julian Crutchfield 1-5, Kyle Santana 1-14, Taye Davis 3-15, Eddie McDaniels 3-37, Taylor Bryan 1-1. Wilson Central: Gabe Angel 3-27, Anthony Dobson 1-21, Zack Dover 3-95, Alex Price 3-42, Kaleb Butler 1-4.