MIDLOTHIAN, Texas -- Frsico Centennial (12-1) found out that it’s tough to hang with the physical play of Corsicana (12-1) for four quarters, even if you boast one of the top defenses in 4A.
What began as a back-and-forth exchange of haymakers turned into a grind for Centennial, leading to a 52-31 Corsicana win in the 4A Division II Region II semifinal Friday night.
Centennial coach Mark Howard admitted his defense was gassed by the second half after trying to fight past one of the biggest lineups in 4A to get to one of the best running backs in the area in Cameron Washington.
“Early on, when you have a little momentum on your side, you don’t get as tired,” Howard said. “Later, especially in the third or fourth quarter, our defense did get tired and that’s the first time I’ve seen us get tired all season long. At the same time, they were out there for more snaps, more then what they are usually out there.”
Corsicana made it a point to wear down Centennial in the first half and ran just under 50 plays while racking up 370 yards of total offense in the first two frames.
Washington, who broke the school’s single-season rushing record on a 56-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that put his team up 27-17, was the catalyst for Corsicana.
Washington moved well past Ketric Sanford’s mark of 2,761 yards with his 214-yard, four-touchdown performance Friday night at Midlothan ISD Stadium.
“It means a lot, especially when the former record setter was here with me,” Washington said. “It means a lot that he was here today and wanted me to break the record.”
After the record-setting score, Centennial and Corsicana traded blows one more time before the half and headed to the locker rooms with Corsicana leading, 30-24.
In the third quarter, Centennial’s momentum was officially erased when Corsicana’s defense held tough and forced a punt on fourth down at the 50. Centennial had already converted on a third and fourth down on the drive before the punt.
Washington added his last touchdown run of the game on a 52-yard scamper at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Corsicana advances to the region final to play Kilgore on Friday in Forney at 7:30 p.m.
Until then, Corsicana has some time to celebrate the win and take in the incredible atmosphere created by a nearly packed house Friday night.
“It was kind of like street football, but at the halftime I was telling my team that this was the loudest game I’ve ever played in,” Washington said. “This is the farthest we’ve ever been since I’ve been in high school, and it was a big experience for us.”