A week after coming behind to defeat then Class 2A’s fourth ranked team, Loreauville, Central Catholic came from behind again on Friday — this time knocking off Class 1A’s top ranked squad and defending state champion White Castle High School.
“(We) just kept pluggin away,” CCHS coach David Fuhrer said after the game. “(The) last couple weeks we’ve been a second half ball club. The defense played their butt off and tonight the offense showed up.”
And the Eagles did it by beating the Bulldogs at their forte.
CCHS outrushed the ground-oriented Bulldogs 171 to 120. All but one of White Castle’s rushing yards belonged to All-State running back Tyre Bracken, who finished the game with 28 carries for 119 yards. Most importantly, though, he was kept out of the end zone except on a 2 point conversion in the second quarter.
“He’s a great back, obviously, and I said earlier he’s going to get his yards,” Fuhrer said. “We were just hoping to contain him and we contained him at the right times. The defense played tough and got after it, and I’m very proud of the whole team effort.”
CCHS rolled up 330 yards in the victory and held the Bulldogs to 268.
For CCHS, the comeback was jumpstarted by an unlikely weapon: a field goal.
After failing to generate any points on its first three offensive drives of the second half — the first stalled at the White Castle 13 and the others stalled after four plays — the CCHS offense faced another fourth down situation, this time at the WC 10 yard line.
Down 14-13, CCHS coaching staff elected to turn to junior Dontrell Brown and its kicking game on fourth down instead of its offense.
Brown, who had missed a field goal last year and had missed 1 of 2 extra points earlier in the ball game, came through when he easily converted on a 20 yard field goal with 8:56 left in the ball game to give CCHS its first lead since the second quarter.
“I was nervous at first,” Brown said. “I’ve been practicing on it.”
It was the first of two consecutive offensive scores for the Eagles — Lloyd Grogan scored on a 12 yard run three plays after the Eagles stopped White Castle at its own 43 yard line. Brown’s point after attempt was good for the 23-14 final.
“We never quit,” said Singleton, who passed for 162 yards and rushed for 63 more and a score. “Just like we did in Loreauville, we never quit. I love my guys, and I’ll take it home with them any day, all day, every day.”
WCHS coach Ferrante Dominique, whose squad’s 12 game winning streak was snapped with the loss, declined comment following the loss.
Before and after reclaiming the lead, CCHS’ defense made key stops.
Trailing 14-6, a host of the defensive unit stuffed Bracken for a 2-yard loss on a fourth down and 1 situation at the CCHS 2-yard line.
Later, CCHS stopped the White Castle offense on its final offensive possession as Bracken couldn’t haul in a pass in the end zone with a host of Eagles covering. WCHS quarterback Isaac O’Bear also was sacked by Conner LeBlanc and Garrett Topham to end the game.
“The defensive effort was great,” CCHS defensive lineman Erik Mabile said. “We made key stops. Everytime they started driving the ball, we stopped them.”
After stopping White Castle on its first offensive drive of the game, the Eagles marched down, primarily on the strength of its running game, for its first touchdown.
On third down and three from the White Castle 9, Singleton ran into the endzone for the score with 6:43 left in the first quarter.
Brown’s extra point was no good, but CCHS led 6-0.
White Castle responded in the second quarter on a five-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 35-yard pass from O’Bear pass to Terrance Taylor. O’Bear found his receiver in stride, for the score with 8:33 left in the half.
Taylor’s extra point was no good, and the game was tied at 6.
O’Bear completed 10 of 24 passed for 148 yards and two scores. He also threw two interceptions, both to Singleton.
White Castle took the lead at about four minutes later when O’Bear again found Taylor, this time for 10 yards on fourth down. Bracken converted the 2 point run for a 14-6 WC lead with 3:07 remaining before halftime.
Taylor was White Castle’s leading receiver, catching seven passes for 110 yards and two scores.
CCHS had a chance to score before halftime and again in the third quarter, but both drives failed at the WC 9 and 13, respectively.
However, on White Castle’s second offensive play following the second of those failed CCHS drives, O’Bear fumbled at the 14 yard line. Grogan scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 14 yards for the score.
Brown’s extra point was good to cut the lead to 14-13 with 8:44 left in the third quarter.
CCHS will return to action on Thursday when it hosts Berwick at Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.