The Centennial High School football team rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Whetstone 23-20 in the regular-season finale Oct. 27.
The Stars earned just their second win in the series in the past 15 meetings.
Running back Luchene Davis scored the winning points on a 4-yard run with 3 minutes, 11 seconds remaining.
"We finished some drives in the fourth quarter and that was the difference," coach Donte Goosby said. "We stopped shooting ourselves in the foot. Davis and (quarterback Jaylen) Gilbert settled in and made some good runs for us and our defense came up with a couple of huge fourth-down stops."
The Stars, who finished 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the City League-North Division, trailed the hosts 14-3 at halftime and 14-9 entering the fourth quarter.
Whetstone's Ibrahim Sesay scored on a 35-yard run to give the Braves a 20-9 lead, but Centennial responded. Gilbert connected with Marquise Scott on a 13-yard touchdown pass and then tossed a two-point conversion pass to Craig Burt to make it 20-17.
"That two-point conversion was big and I think our guys could smell victory after that," Goosby said. "In the past few years, we haven't had the mentality to pull out come-from-behind wins. If it was late and the game was tight, we weren't able to focus and finish.
"But they proved they could do it and it was a big moment for the program, especially on the defensive side. We stopped them on fourth-and-1 when our guys read the option well and Luchene Davis and Chris Street made the big tackle in (Whetstone's) end."
That set up what proved to be the winning touchdown.
Centennial forced two fumbles, but also missed a field-goal attempt and had another one blocked.
"We took the second half kickoff and drove 70 yards and then fumbled at their 3-yard line," said Whetstone coach Don Poff, whose team finished 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the league. "We also fumbled at their 20. Both were huge turnovers and I think if we punch in a touchdown to start the second half and go up 21-3, it changes the entire way the second half is played. It changes what they do and what we do."
Gilbert finished 7-for-19 passing for 148 yards and also led the Stars with 106 yards rushing on 18 carries. Davis added 104 yards on 14 rushes.
Whetstone quarterback Terris Crider was 8-for-18 passing for 91 yards and led the Braves with 80 yards rushing on 19 carries. Rashaun Broomfield had six catches for 66 yards.
Cross country teams looking toward 2018
In part, it was the finish the boys and girls cross country teams were seeking this year.
Although neither had a full team compete in the Division I district meet Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial and no one advanced to regional, there still were positives.
"We had several things happen the day of districts that prevented us from fielding a team for both boys and girls," coach Rhonda Reese said. "Between injuries, sickness and family issues, we were only able to race three girls and four boys. While it is always disappointing to not have a team at the district meet, most of the individuals that ran did run their personal best."
For the girls in the 18-team district 2 race, seniors Chloe Flemming (49th, 21 minutes, 27.89 seconds), Laren Reesman (78th, 22:59.71) and Emily Boyer (113th, 27:55.0) competed.
For the boys in the 17-team district 1 race, senior Will Zimmerman (44th, 17:31.96), junior Kaleb Turner (66th, 18:06.52), senior Ben Klingler (77th, 18:36.19) and freshman Jabe Miller (95th, 19:49.35) participated.
"Will, Kaleb, Jabe and Chloe all posted (personal records)," Reese said. "It is always a great feeling for the runners and the coaching staff to see hard work pay off when you run your best time of the season, especially for the seniors."
In the City meet Oct. 11, the girls finished second (64 points) behind host Whetstone (64) and ahead of Northland (75), Eastmoor Academy (77), Walnut Ridge (93) and Africentric (125). The Stars had won the previous eight City titles.
The boys finished third (61) behind Eastmoor (51) and Whetstone (56) and ahead of Walnut Ridge (87), Mifflin (128), Northland (128), Africentric (214), East (276), Independence (283), West (296), Beechcroft (296) and South (303).
"We did not meet our goals of winning the City meet, but we had a successful season," Reese said. "Most of the runners on both of our teams had never run 3.1 miles before. Those kids all were able to not only compete at that distance, but to improve almost every race.
"Just about everyone who returned from last year ran personal-best times. That will carry their motivation over for next season."
In the City meet, Flemming was third in 21:41.3, followed by Reesman (sixth, 22:36.9), junior Camilla Richards (10th, 23:22.4), junior Gwen Moran (19th, 24:43.3) and Boyer (32nd, 27:37.6).
Competing for the boys, Will Zimmerman (fourth, 17:58.8) was followed by his twin, Luke Zimmerman (seventh, 18:22.8), Turner (11th, 18:35.4) Klingler (15th, 18:48.8) and freshman Jeff Kimball (24th, 20:10.4).
The top seven runners in each race earned first-team all-league. Those finishing eighth through 14th were second-team all-league.