Coming into Friday’s game, Grain Valley head coach David Allie knew that Center’s Jeremiah Wilson would be a player his team would need to stop Friday night.
It didn’t happen.
Wilson guided the Yellowjackets’ high-powered offense with five of his team’s seven touchdowns and totaled 191 yards from scrimmage to help Center defeat the Eagles 49-28 at Moody Murry Memorial Field.
“Other teams need to look at film on him because he’s a player,” Allie said of Wilson. “He’s very fast, physical and is a great player.”
The Center running back constantly burned the Eagles defense with outside runs and catching deep passes while coming out of the backfield. He helped his team score on seven out of its 10 drives.
The Grain Valley offense had a turnover-on-downs that set up the Yellowjackets on the Eagle 47. Wilson later caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Amaun Ryan on a hook route for an early 7-0 lead.
Grain Valley had trouble defending the deep pass all game as Ryan had five passes of more than 30 yards. He connected with Darius Porter for a 40-yard TD strike and his 37-yard bomb to David Wilson set up a 2-yard scoring run from Jeremiah Wilson to give Center an 21-0 cushion with 1:13 left in the first period.
“They have a lot of speed,” Allie said of Center. “We missed some tackles, and when you do that, they can take it to the house. We unfortunately blew a couple of coverages, too.
“When we didn’t convert that fourth down on our first drive, that set the tone for the first half.”
Grain Valley finally got on the board at the 10:55 mark in the second when quarterback Tate Collum faked a handoff and got into the end zone from 4 yards out.
The Eagles got their first stop afterward but couldn’t convert on the ensuing drive. Center’s next possession proved costly for Grain Valley. Not only did Trevor Wilson score on an 11-yard run to make it 28-7, earlier in the drive Eagles linebacker and defensive captain Tristan Pfieffer went down with a knee injury.
“You try to tell them to forget about it and keep playing, but it’s in the back of their head, knowing one of your boys are hurt,” Allie said. “We want our guys to step up and get their brother’s back.”
Grain Valley did take advantage of a turnover, which it got on a fumble recovery Seth Dankenbring at the Center 43. It took advantage later when Collum scored on another 4-yard jaunt to slash the lead to 28-14 with 1:15 left in the half.
As it looked like Grain Valley was getting back in the game, Center delivered a backbreaker. Ryan flung another deep ball and completed 61-yard TD to David Wilson to make the halftime score 35-14 going into halftime.
Center put it away with a play action swing pass that went to Jeremiah Wilson that he scored on a 66-yard scamper. Eagles scored on a runs of 3 and 2 from Noah Buseman and Gavin Oyler, respectively, but were never really able to get back into it.
“They did a good job with the defensive ends,” Allie said. “We couldn’t get our inside run game going. Their defensive ends have great closing speed, and we dropped some passes and missed some reads.
“We’re playing a lot of athletes. We have to do a better job in space and we didn’t do that tonight.”