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Jaguars looking dominant early

Century players want to prove that theyre better than the schools memorable 2008 football team


Three games into the 2012 high school football season, Century looks scary good. by: STAFF PHOTO BY JAIME VALDEZ - Century quarterback Sam Riddle rolls out during a non-league game against Lincoln on Aug. 31.

With the Jaguars’ offense putting up gaudy numbers and the defense starting to come together, Century is poised to be a power in the Pacific Conference.

“We had a team in 2008 that went 10-2 and they were an excellent team,” Century coach Bill Smith says. “This team is trying to make a statement that they’re a better team.”

Century’s no-huddle offense has taken a page from the Oregon Ducks “blur” offense. With players holding up signs on the sidelines and the coaches getting plays in quickly, the Jaguars give opposing defenses little opportunity to get set before the snap.

The results have been dynamic. The Jaguars (3-0) put up 62 points against Lincoln in their opener, 50 points against Mountain View in the second week and 66 points against Hillsboro last week.

“We knew going into the season that we have some pretty skilled athletic players,” Smith says. “They’re smart. They’re willing to put in extra work. We practiced passing all summer and they just got better and better. The attendance was almost perfect.

“So we knew that we were going to be able to score some points. But I didn’t think we’d score this many. I’m just really impressed with them.”

Leading the way for the offense is senior quarterback Sam Riddle. Last season, Riddle broke his index finger in the third game and had to sit out the rest of the 2011 campaign. Riddle, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, used the anguish of missing the better part of his junior season as motivation for this season.

“It was really frustrating,” Riddle says. “But, I got in the weight room, I worked on my speed by doing track ... I just worked really hard.”

Through three games, Riddle has thrown a staggering 16 touchdown passes. Riddle gives the credit for his numbers to his offensive line and the ability of Jaguar receivers like Xavier Mitchell and Brad Bennett to get wide open.

“Defenses are breaking down when they see we have different formations,” Riddle says. “Brad’s making plays and Xavier, no one can guard him.

“We’ve worked so hard in the summer and we’ve gotten so many reps and we’ve been playing with each other since third grade. The connection I have with my receivers is unbelievable. And my lineman work so hard and they’re determined to win games.”

Even with how skilled the Jags’ offensive players are, Riddle admits that he did not think Century would be scoring this many points.

“Maybe in some dreams,” Riddle says. “This is the best offense I’ve ever seen. It’s a great thing to be a part of it. We’re putting more points up than the Ducks. It feels good.”

The Jaguars defense has been another story. In Century’s first two games, the defense was porous. The Jags allowed 35 points against Lincoln and 45 points against Mountain View.

“We can score some points,” Smith says. “But, we’ve struggled to stop some people.”

Things turned around dramatically for Century’s defense last week against Hillsboro, though. The Jaguars shut the Spartans down, giving up just six points. The defense was also opportunistic, scoring three touchdowns.

“We’re coming together, making reads and doing what we need to do,” says senior linebacker Juan Hernandez, who returned an interception for a touchdown against Hillsboro. “We need to keep bringing pressure on the quarterback and see runs.”

One key for the Jaguars’ defense will be eliminating big plays in the future.

“We need to work on not giving up big plays, that’s the main thing,” Hernandez says.

Century will face one of their toughest challenges of the season this Friday at Tigard High, before hosting Forest Grove on Sept. 28.

“We’ll find out (how good we are) against Tigard,” Smith says. “Tigard is an extremely good team on both sides of the ball.”

As he looks at how Century has played over its first three games, Hernandez thinks he already knows how good the Jaguars can be.

“We can go far in the playoffs,” Hernandez says. “That’s the goal this year.”




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