CENTERBURG — The opportunities were there for the Centerburg football team.
The Trojans moved the ball well Friday, but the Johnstown defense came up with the big plays when they needed, pulling out a 35-17 victory in a Mid-Buckeye Conference matchup of unbeatens.
“I’m very, very proud of the kids. I thought they prepared extremely well, both mentally and physically,” said Centerburg coach Jim Stoyle. “Our kids gave them some problems. Our skill guys did a good job and our offensive line did a very good job.”
“That was a very good Centerburg team. They were well prepared and ran a good system,” said Johnstown coach Mike Carter.
Both teams came into the game sporting identical 3-0 records, and for most of the game, it showed. The Trojans opened the game on fire, marching from their 9 to the Johnnies’ 9 yard line with a nice mix of run and pass plays. But the Johnnies’ defense stepped up with their backs against the wall and stopped Centerburg’s Jason Ratliff on a fourth down play.
“That was a huge stop. Our defense played with a lot of spirit and enthusiasm,” said Carter. “Centerburg is a good team. Give them credit. There’s a good reason they had won three games in a row. They are a fine ball club.”
The Johnnies dented the scoreboard first, scoring on a 17-yard pass from Matt Smith to Nick Sadinsky.
Centerburg answered with another long drive, moving to the Johnstown 5 before stalling. This time, though, they got a field goal from Brett Sockman.