CENTERBURG — Visiting Columbus Academy got on top early and took advantage of some Centerburg Trojans’ penalties to go away with a 34-21 victory in their nonconference game on Friday evening.
“First of all, Academy’s a good ball club,” said Centerburg coach Jim Stoyle. “We knew that going in. We knew we had to eliminate our mistakes but, unfortunately, we made some.”
The Vikings’ backfield duo of Austin Peterman (13 carries, 75 yards and 2 TDs) and Preston Pearson (173 yards, 18 carries and 2 TDs) scored on runs of 10 and 69 yards, respectively, to put them up, 14-0, in the first quarter.
“I think we came out a little bit flat in the first quarter,” said Stoyle. “Then our kids came back in the second.”
The Trojans (1-2), relying on running back Steven Kiehl (80 yards, 23 carries) with Jason Ratliff on the bench, kept things conservative until quarterback Drew Osborne (15-for-25, 154 yards and a TD) tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Teale (4 receptions, 63 yards, one TD).
“We got a little conservative on offense because I didn’t want to get the ball back and give them another chance to score,” said Stoyle.
The Trojans got a 49-yard kickoff return from Silas Beals to start the second half. They took the ball from the Viking’s 40 down to the 18, where the drive sputtered.
“When we came out in the third quarter, I thought our kids were pretty focused,” said Stoyle. “Silas got us great field position to start that quarter. We had a nice drive going, our kids were focused. We just made one mistake there and it hurt the drive.”
Then, more trouble when Peterman and Pearson scored again — this time from 14 and 9 yards out — to give Academy their biggest lead of the game, 27-7, with a little over a minute to go in the third quarter. Centerburg was hit for 40 yards in penalties in third.
The Trojans took advantage of some good field position, getting the ball on a Dylan Craker interception at the Academy 25. Craker picked off Academy quarterback Hart Wise, a sophomore who was subbing for the injured Josh Hill. Wise struggled, gaining only 3 passing yards. The Vikings (2-1) had 360 yards on the ground. The Trojans got it down to the one in eight plays and then Osborne (16 carries, six yards) ran it in.
A 69-yard drive, highlighted by a sensational diving catch of a 35-yard pass by Logan McGovern (6 catches, 70 yards) and capped by another one-yard scoring run by Osborne, was not enough.
“I’m proud of my kids,” said Stoyle. “They didn’t quit. They battled to the end. I’m not a moral victory guy, but this is one we’ve got to build on. There will be a lot of things on film we will correct and there are things we will praise and we have to go back to work tomorrow and do that.”
The Trojans will open play in the Mid-Buckeye Conference next Friday, traveling to Johnstown for a 7 p.m. start.