Clock-churning drive sends Eagles to victory
Centennial delivers down the stretch to beat their visitors from Hawaii
Centennial High has welcomed its opening opponent out of Hawaii with open arms, but on Friday night there was a game to win. The Eagles delivered some big hits and one final time-crunching drive to seal a 35-26 win over Aiea.
Centennial was moving toward a clinching touchdown early in the fourth quarter when the ball popped loose and Aiea recovered at the goal line.
The Eagles kept Aiea pinned deep in its own territory, highlighted when Shawn King delivered a blow to Hawaii receiver Jayden Chaviera knocking him back a few steps before he crumpled to the ground. A pair of incompletions prevented Aiea from moving the chains and they had to punt out of their own end zone.
Centennial regained possession on Hawaii's half of the field and this time would march to pay dirt and put the score out of reach.
Jesse Porter set the tone when he came around the right side and crashed through a crowd of white jerseys like a bowling ball scattering pins to pick up a 3rd-and-2.
It was only a few yards, I trusted my line and they made it easy, Porter said. Sometimes you have to put your shoulder down that's what we have pads for.
Quarterback Mychael Kane found his way around the right side to convert a 3rd-and-4, and Dylan Collins bulldozed through the middle moving the pile for several extra steps to move the chains once more.
Kane finished the drive with a 6-yard burst to the end zone for a 35-26 lead. The Eagles kept the ball on the ground for all 10 plays of the drive, taking more than five minutes off the clock on their way to the touchdown.
Desperate for a quick strike, Aiea provided itself a glimmer of hope when QB Kobe Kato launched a pass down the sideline. The ball clipped the fingertips of two Eagles before finding Ty Matsunami behind the play for a 50-yard gain.
But with less than 10 seconds to play, Aiea had few options.
A pair of misfires to the end zone and the horn sounded.
"We hit a couple big plays in the pass game, and they would adjust, then we would go to something else," Centennial coach Chris Knudsen said. "We had a good chess match going tonight."
The teams shook hands at midfield, and Aiea presented the Eagles with leis made out of tea leaves. The teams gathered for a post-game barbecue on campus and will attend Portland State's home opener together on Saturday.
Win or lose we enter the field as gentlemen and we leave the field as gentlemen, Aiea coach Wendell Say said. My rookie year at Linfield, Chris invited me to his house for Thanksgiving, otherwise I would have just stayed in my dorm alone. That was the start of a great friendship.
Centennial got out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after Louis Salazar pulled down a 23-yard scoring strike from Kane. He would add another 43-yard catch that would set up 1st-and-goal in the third quarter.
Kane took the next snap, faked a pitch out and bounced off three tacklers. Someone pulled the back of his jersey as he neared the goal line, but it did nothing to slow his progress.
Salazar caught four balls for 116 yards, while Dylan Arnhold made three grabs for 110.
Everybody knows we are based on the run, but we have some athletes in the passing game, too and that can really open things up, Salazar said.
Porter led the ground game with 21 carries for 84 yards.
Centennial plays at Newberg at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9.
AIEA 0 7 19 0 26
CENTENNIAL 14 0 15 6 35
CNT Jesse Porter 2 run (Henry Button kick)
CNT Louis Salazar 23 pass from Mychael Kane (Button kick)
AIEA Jayden Chaviera 35 pass from Zelius Maae-Liupaono
AIEA Maae-Liupaono 5 run (kick missed)
CNT Kane 5 run (Adrian Leyva pass from Kane)
AIEA Kame Kim Choy-Keb-Ah Lo 15 pass from Maae-Liupaono (pass failed)
CNT Kane 11 run (Button kick)
AIEA Choy-Keb-Ah 62 interception return
CNT Kane 5 run (kick blocked)