Jags survive a wild one against South Salem, getting a 43-40 victory

Century extended its football season with a dramatic 43-40 victory over South Salem last Friday night in a Class 6A state play-in game.

The win earned the Jaguars (3-7) a spot in the 32-team state playoff bracket, where they will square off against third-ranked Central Catholic (9-0) on Friday at 7 p.m.

Last week’s game against South Salem (4-6) was a back-and-forth affair, with the host Saxons taking an early 7-0 lead on Josh Benton’s 80-yard touchdown run, and they took a 19-15 advantage into intermission after Sam Tweedt tossed a 35-yard scoring pass to Janzen Aguilar-Nelson with 40 seconds left in the first half.

Century responded with a pair of short Oscar Rojas touchdown runs in the third quarter — a 3-yarder and a 4-yarder — and Zack Allen’s 2-yard scoring run gave the Jaguars their largest lead of the game at 36-26 with 3:30 remaining.

South Salem countered with a 10-play, 88-yard drive that included a key fourth-down conversion and ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Tweedt to Kevin Martz that pulled the Saxons within 36-33.

Century recovered an onside kick near midfield, and a 33-yard run by Rojas set up a short touchdown run by Daniel Hernandez that stretched the Jaguars’ lead back to 10 points with 38 seconds left.

That score proved to be crucial, as Justin Campbell returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards to the Century 6-yard line, and Tweedt followed three plays later with a 3-yard scoring pass to Martz that made it 43-40. That play came with only five seconds remaining, however, and Century covered up another onside kick, then took a knee to preserve the victory.

Century piled up 420 yards of total offense and 22 first downs in the game, dominating the time of possession by running the ball 58 times for 289 yards.

Rojas had 73 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Daniel Hernandez had 130 yards and a score. Derek Jackson and Marcos Hernandez also had rushing touchdowns for the Jaguars.

Marcos Hernandez completed 6-of-12 pass attempts for 131 yards, but he was intercepted once and he also had a third-quarter fumble that was recovered in the end zone by South Salem.

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