Gifted an immediate scoring chance even though it kicked off to Center, Grain Valley’s football team failed to take advantage after the host Yellow Jackets failed to corral the opening return.
Unfortunately, it marked the closest Grain Valley got on the road Friday, as Center repeatedly struck with big plays on offense and kept the Eagles offense from gaining much traction in a 41-3 thrashing.
Unbeaten Center (4-0) scored touchdowns on its first six possessions, then took a knee for its seventh possession going into halftime. The running-clock second half was scoreless.
“They’re a great ballclub, and they showed it,” Grain Valley coach David Allie said of Center after his team fell to 2-2. “They hadn’t had the greatest strength of schedule, and I don’t know if it lulled our kids a bit, but it shouldn’t have. We told them they could be explosive.”
Grain Valley’s big chance right away came from the Center 26, but it ended with a fourth-and-long incompletion in the end zone.
On Center’s first possession, running back Norvell Trent snared a 26-yard pass on third-and-13, then three plays later took a screen pass 49 yards for a touchdown.
That marked the beginning of a big night for Center quarterback Trevor Wilson, who finished 7-of-8 passing for 240 yards and four touchdowns.
Wilson connected with Cristian Cox for a 41-yard score and Trent added a 5-yard plunge to make it 21-0 in the first quarter before the Eagles notched a first down.
“We didn’t block well offensively, and to quote a favorite coach of mine, we made up for it by not tackling well,” Allie said. “We didn’t finish on either side of the ball.
“But my hat’s off to them. They’re coaching staff does a great job, and we’ve got to come out better.”
Grain Valley drove 55 yards in 10 plays, capped Nate Chaiprathum’s 35-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
But Center promptly responded with another Wilson-to-Cox hookup, this one a 72-yard scoring pass. Rachaad White added a 65-yard run in which he shed a couple tacklers, and Wilson tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Wilson.
Center finished with 396 yards offensively to Grain Valley’s 168.
The Eagles drove to the Jackets’ 19 and 26 after their lone score before stalling out both times. Tate Collum finished 7-of-17 passing for 65 yards, and Eric Becker (5 carries, 32 yards) was the leading ground gainer as leading rusher Caleb Krell missed the game with an injury.
While the final margin was much bigger than one score, Allie acknowledged that an early touchdown after Center’s turnover could have been helpful.
“We get a gamebreaker on special teams – something we always talk about – and we didn’t do anything with it,” he said, “and it went on from there.”