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Central Relies on Ground Game to Secure First Win

Pat StrathmanOctober 2, 2020

Salina Central football has a well-documented history of effectively running the football.

The 2020 Mustangs turned back the clock to get back on track.

Junior Micah Moore and sophomore Kenyon McMillan each scored twice, the offensive line paved the way for a 317-yard performance, and the Mustangs pounded their way to a 33-27 victory over Ark City Friday on Homecoming night. Central improved to 1-4 while Ark City dropped to 1-4.

Salina Central was locked in from the start. The Mustangs took the opening kick and marched 76 yards on 10 plays, 67 coming on the ground. Moore capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge.

Ark City’s response took the Bulldogs to the Central one. On 4th and goal, quarterback Gabe Welch attempted a quarterback sneak, only to be denied by the SC defensive line. However, Ark City still scored in Central territory. Cornerback Jonas Stoy picked off a Parker Kavanagh screen pass and returned it into the end zone to knot up the score at 7-7 with 9:54 to play in the half.

Central didn’t flinch. After a recovery on a pooch kick, the Mustangs drove 49 yards, the last eight coming from Moore on a score with 6:32 remaining in the second quarter. Salina Central forced two turnovers, the second resulting in points.

Senior linebacker Brooks Burgoon jarred the ball free, swallowed up by junior lineman Calvin Hemmer at the 23 of Ark City. McMillan went the distance on the very next play, set up by senior receiver EZ Jackson, earning the H&R Block of the Game. Central’s 21-7 advantage held up at intermission.

Following back-to-back three-and-outs, Ark City trimmed the deficit to seven, set up by two big pass plays and a Salina Central penalty. Tailback Wyatt Bahm forged to the goal line from one yard out, cutting the margin to 21-14 with 9:15 to go in the third.

Salina Central answered with arguably its most impressive drive of the season. The Mustangs surgically picked apart the Ark City defense, removing six minutes of game time in the process. Kavangh punctuated the 13-play, 83-yard drive with a 9-yard pass to Jackson with 3:13 remaining in the frame.

Ark City wasn’t phased as the Bulldogs followed with Bahm’s second TD run, his last on a six-yard scamper. The score pulled Ark City to 27-21 with 50 seconds off the board in the final period.

While Salina Central could have wasted more clock, the Mustangs turned to McMillan to finish the job on a six-play, 82-yard march. The sophomore running back found the end zone on a six-yard score with 9:13 to play in the game. Senior kicker Mac Hammer lobbed a kick on the ensuing kickoff, recovered by Salina Central, killing enough clock to get the win.

Salina Central racked up 317 rushing yards on 54 carries. Moore ran 20 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns. McMillan touched the ball 21 times for 128 and a pair of TD’s. Kavanagh logged 68 rushing yards.

The Mustangs are on the road the next two weeks, starting with Andover Central next Friday. The Freddy’s and Mokas Pregame Show begins at 6:45 pm on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.



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