LAFAYETTE — For those who don’t get to see how the sausage is made at Centaurus football practice, it starts with a motivated group that’s intent on reaching the postseason in Season C.
Inspired by simply having an opportunity to play, the Warriors are currently ranked No. 4 in Class 4A by the CHSAANow.com coaches poll. On Thursday night, they pushed No. 1 Thomas Jefferson to the brink before finally falling to the unbeaten Spartans, 20-13.
If reaching the playoffs is their intended final product, the Centaurus boys appear to have identified the correct recipe for success.
“It’s just the everyday preparation,” Centaurus head coach Andy Hampton said. “It’s the basic fundamentals. We just take every day at a time, especially right now with all the pandemic stuff. We’re just trying to take advantage of every opportunity to come out and play football every day and get better. Just living in the moment is what we’ve got to do.”
Thursday’s 4A North League game was tied 7-7 at halftime, with Centaurus senior tailback Eddie Zygowicz scoring his fourth touchdown of the season on a short run in the second quarter. Thomas Jefferson (3-0, 2-0) pulled back ahead in the third quarter, but senior Tyrese McClinton El blocked the ensuing point-after try to keep the Warriors (2-1, 1-1) within six points.
Centaurus junior Angus Reichert caught a game-tying touchdown pass from Coleman Teasdale with 4 minutes and 1 second left in the fourth quarter but the Warriors then had a PAT of their own blocked. On the first play of the next drive, Thomas Jefferson’s Avery Shunneson scored on a long run to give the Spartans a late lead.
The Warriors drove down the field following a short kickoff but on fourth down with 29 seconds left, an incomplete pass sealed the team’s first loss of the spring campaign.
“We had some opportunities there early that we’ve got to capitalize on,” Hampton said. “I can’t fault our kids’ effort. They played hard. We’ve just got to get to a place where we can execute and be consistent. We’ve got a good group of guys and we’re getting better every week, and that’s all we can do.
“We’ve got a tough one against Kennedy next week on the road, so we’re going to get ourselves right, get down there and see what we can do.”
The Warriors are averaging 26.7 points on offense and are allowing just 15.3 points on defense. On Thursday, they held Thomas Jefferson well below its typical offensive output of 39.5 points through two games.
The Warriors went 2-8 last season and have won more than four games just once — 7-3 in 2015 — in the last nine years.
They will continue their season on the road at Kennedy (1-1) on Thursday.