Center Grove football wins homecoming shootout

If you liked defense, you stayed home. Or at least wish you did.

Center Grove celebrated homecoming on Friday night with a ping-pongish 63-41 victory over Lawrence Central, the two squads combining for —wait for it —1,144 yards of offense.

A win is a win is a win.

Yet even in all his years on the sideline, Trojans coach Eric Moore hasn’t been part of a win like that.

“And I don’t want to be a part of it again,” Moore said. “(Lawrence Central) has tremendous athletes. We knew it. Guys were in place; we just didn’t make plays. That’s part of life. It’s high school football.

“It doesn’t take many great dudes on the field to start a track meet, and that’s what we started. I was hoping someone would get tired because we were running up and down the field, too. Just two teams with great athletes.”

The Class 6A No. 2 Trojans (5-1), led by senior running backs Micah Coyle (289 yards rushing, four touchdowns) and Jalen Thomeson (152, one TD), amassed a total of 647 yards of offense behind their dominant offensive line of Austin Wiese, Charlie Gardner, Payton Hutchins, Luke McDaniel and T.J. Williams.

Center Grove finished with 436 yards on the ground.

“The offensive line was outstanding,” said Trojans junior quarterback Tyler Cherry, who passed for 211 yards and three touchdowns — two to junior Noah Coy and another to senior Eli Hohlt.

“Our offense played extremely well, and it all started up front with all those guys. I thought they played well against a good defensive pass rush and a good defensive team all around. I think we just keep progressing. That’s all we’re trying to do as an offense. If you can keep getting better throughout the year, you’re going to end up in a good spot.”

The Trojans now hold a five-game win streak over the Bears, outscoring them by a total of 231-51 in the process.

The teams combined for an almost unfathomable 848 yards of offense over the first two periods alone as the Trojans raced to a 49-33 halftime lead.

Five touchdowns were scored in the opening quarter; seven more over the next 12 minutes.

There were two punts prior to halftime, both courtesy of Lawrence Central.

Center Grove opened the scoring floodgates at 10:07 of the first when Thomeson darted through a massive hole for a 23-yard touchdown run. The Bears countered, but Cherry’s 1-yard quarterback sneak put the home team back on top.

Again, Lawrence Central retook the lead on a 3-yard TD run from senior Elijah Jackson. Center Grove went ahead for good once Cherry located Hohlt over the middle from 38 yards out, and then the Trojans’ defense stiffened to bat down an LC pass on fourth and2 at the Center Grove 33.

Coyle’s 45-yard burst down the left sideline to paydirt made it 28-15 at 11:02 of the second stanza. The senior added a 70-yard blast up the gut at 7:17 to put Center Grove up by 20. Coy hauled in scoring receptions of 19 and 40 yards on his way to a 130-yard performance.

Lawrence Central junior receiver Ahmaad Duff, all 5-6, 155 pounds of him, proved virtually unstoppable with eight catches for 289 yards and a pair of scores.

Center Grove (5-1) is back on the road next Friday when it plays at Pike.