LAFAYETTE — In their quest to nab a playoff berth, the Erie Tigers took care of the part they can control Friday night.
Now the Tigers play the waiting game.
A convincing 37-20 win against Northern League foe Centaurus at Warrior Stadium was a necessary step for Erie. But will it elevate the Tigers’ wild-card points enough for them to crack Class 3A’s 16-team field?
We’ll find out when the brackets are released on Sunday.
“We will be. There’s no doubt about it,” optimistic running back B.J. Jensen said. “I’m pretty sure we’re still playing.”
Tigers coach Larry Gartrell knows his team is squarely on the bubble and that results throughout the weekend will be instrumental in foretelling his team’s fate. He rattled off a laundry list of other games and scenarios that could affect the Tigers (7-3, 3-2).
“Wild-card points are a funny thing, because you never know what can happen,” Gartrell said. “I know where we stand, but there are so many teams that are playing tonight and tomorrow that will affect the wild card.”
First and foremost, Erie had to take care of business here. Multifaceted back Pedro Anderson scored two touchdowns in the first three minutes to give Erie a quick 14-0 lead, and finished with three TDs.
He first returned a punt 52 yards after Erie forced a quick three-and-out. Then, after Tyler David recovered a Centaurus fumble, Anderson scored on a four-yard run. He added another four-yarder in the second quarter.
“We knew what we had to do, so coming in here we were mentally prepared,” Anderson said. “We just started right off the bat.”
Joe Ramey added two touchdown runs in the second half and paced the Tigers’ 220-yard rushing attack with 84 on 19 carries. The Tigers also got interceptions from Ryan Romey and Christian Mickey against Centaurus quarterback John Howard, pressed into action when Warriors (2-8, 2-3) starter David Shald was injured during practice this week.
Howard also threw for two TDs, one at the end of each half. His first was to Tanner Martinelli (who also had a running TD) at the halftime buzzer and cut Erie’s lead to 21-7. He found tight end Ryan Sapena for a 34-yarder in the waning moments.
On the extra point, Erie’s Romey, a starting defensive back, tangled with Centaurus’ Johnathan Keyek-Franssen and both were ejected. Romey will have to sit out the first-round playoff game if the Tigers qualify.
They’ll know in a few days.
“I feel like we can compete with any team in the state,” Anderson said. “We have our ups and downs, but when we’re good, we’re as good as anyone.”
Give Erie this: The Tigers are confident they belong. When asked if it will be a long weekend awaiting the bracket, Anderson said: “I think it will be. I’ll be excited and the whole team will be excited to see who we play.”
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21
ERIE 37, CENTAURUS 20
At Warrior Stadium
Erie (7-3, 3-2) 14 7 13 3 — 37
Centaurus (2-8, 2-3) 0 7 0 13 — 20
Erie — Pedro Anderson 52 punt return (Ethan Mezler kick).
Erie — Anderson 4 run (Mezler kick).
Erie — Anderson 4 run (Mezler kick).
Centaurus — Tanner Martinelli 4 pass from John Howard (Brody Jaskul kick).
Erie — Joe Ramey 1 run (Mezler kick).
Erie — Ramey 6 run (pass failed).
Centaurus — Tanner Martinelli 1 run (Brody Jaskul kick).
Erie — Mezler 32 FG.
Centaurus — Ryan Sapena 34 pass from Howard (pass failed).
First downs 14 15
Rushes-yards 40-220 36-151
Passing yards 0 108
Comp-Att-Int 0-1-0 10-22-2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 5-52 5-41
RUSHING — Erie: Ramey 19-84, Mickey 10-54, Jensen 12-48, Anderson 7-45; Centaurus: Martinelli 16-75, Scott 12-54, Buchler 5-13, Crawford 1-5, Harrington 1-4, Howard 1-0.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Erie: Lyle 0-1-0, 0 yards; Centaurus: Howard, 10-22-2, 108 yards.
RECEIVING — Erie: None; Centaurus: Jaskul 6-55, Sapena 1-34, Martinelli 2-11, Scott 1-8.