Lions scorch Red Devils in first season win

Published 6:09 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

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Central High School hosted Verbena Friday, scorching the Red Devils 28-20 in their first region win of the season.

Head coach Corvin Johnson said the victory was a long time coming and felt like a weight lifted off the shoulders of the coaching staff and players.

“It’s like a mountain lifted off our shoulders,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long time coming. We haven’t won since the spring [jamboree].”

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The Lions put the first game points on the board as running back No. 7, Lee Moore found the endzone with a 38-yard touchdown run on the third turnover in the first quarter. Verbena answered with a 54-yard touchdown.

The game was homecoming for the Lions, a match with more significance than some others, Johnson said.

“This game was especially important because this is the senior’s last homecoming game,” Johnson said. “It’s more special to me this year because I’ve been able to spend more time with them and build a stronger bond than I had last year.”

Verbena scored a safety on the next turnover, ending the first quarter tied with Central 8-8.

A 31-yard touchdown run brought Moore into the endzone with 4:36 on the clock in the second quarter and on Central’s next possession, Moore completed a 69-yard touchdown run to widen the lead 20-8.

According to Johnson, the Lions have worked hard to build their offense and came prepared to meet Verbena, a team with a heart for winning.

“What [Verbena] does is run the ball on power center,” Johnson said. “They’re not big or fast [athletes] but the kids play hard. I think we’re a bigger team and we have more overall team speed. The turning point of the game is who’s most physical, us or them.”

Moore, who would score all four Lion touchdowns, said he anticipated the Red Devils’ game plan and came ready to meet the challenge.

“They just get the ball and run down the middle,” Moore said. “That’s easy to stop.”

Verbena put points on the board again on the Red Devils first possession after the half. Central made the next run for the end zone with a 57-yard touchdown run by Moore. 

With 41 seconds left in the game, Verbena scored their last touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to win the game.

According to Verbena head coach Allen Brothers, not much went right during the game which is the team’s fourth loss of the season coming on the heels of the team’s only season victory at 22-18 over Billingsly.

“We didn’t play good football,” Brothers said. “We just had too many mental mistakes to win a football game.”

The Lions gained quite a few penalties during the match, something Johnson said hampered their efforts, but did not prevent them from grasping the win.

“God is in control,” Johnson said. “We persevered to keep going deep and win.”

The Lions will travel to meet Wilcox Central on Sept. 29.