The Centennial High School football team finished off a breakthrough season by defeating visiting Whetstone 32-27 on Oct. 26.
The Stars finished 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the City League-North Division, marking their first winning season since 2001. Centennial went 7-3 on the field in 2002 but was forced to forfeit the first three games and officially went 4-6.
"I knew we were going to have some success because we went 4-6 last year and more or less overachieved because of the amount of freshmen who were forced to play before they were really ready," coach Donte Goosby said. "But that experience gave us a great lift this year."
Against Whetstone, Jaylen Gilbert sealed the victory when he scored on a 5-yard run with 2 minutes, 18 seconds to play. His touchdown gave the Stars a 32-21 lead.
"We were just trying to run the clock out because we got the ball on a turnover with about four minutes left," Goosby said. "But I think we sensed it and the guys just started banging heads up front and we were gaining six and seven yards a pop. I think this is the best offensive line in our program history.
"Unfortunately, our pass defense then gave up some big plays and (Whetstone) scored real fast, so we had to recover the onside kick to preserve the win."
Luchene Davis rushed for 243 yards and two touchdowns, and Gilbert finished with 110 yards rushing. Syquee Womack returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown as the Stars never trailed. Marquese Scott also scored on a 9-yard run.
"It was a miserable night (because of the weather), but we had fun because we beat our rival," Goosby said. "We celebrated a bit and I let the team shave my head."
City title highlights season for boys
The boys cross country team surprised itself by winning the City title Oct. 10 at Walnut Ridge.
Michael Klingler, who co-coaches the boys and girls teams with Adam Berry, said the return of senior Kaleb Turner, the addition of senior Myles Martinez and the development of younger runners all played a role for the Stars.
"The young guys developed quicker than we thought, but we needed that link between the front and back and Myles provided that," Klingler said. "Things came together nicely and we've got a good core coming back next season."
The boys' season ended in the Division I, district 1 meet Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby. Turner led Centennial, finishing 69th in 19:01.9. Also competing were Martinez, sophomores Jaylon Jackson, Jeff Kimball, Nick Loudner and Jabe Miller and freshman Colin Murphy.
In the league meet, Centennial (60) outdistanced International (79) and Whetstone (84) for the championship. Kimball was sixth (18:28.7), followed by Loudner (eighth, 18:39.7) Turner (10th, 18:54.4), Martinez (17th, 19:29.7) and Miller (19th, 19:34.4).
No member of the girls team competed at district. Senior Camilla Richards (11th, 24:53.4) and sophomores Jana Kimball (13th, 25:17.7), Aly Magge (35th, 29:19.1) and Giana Francescon (45th, 36:49.5) competed in the league meet.