The Central Comets scored early in the first quarter of football playoff action Saturday afternoon against the Mercer County Golden Eagles.
The Comets prevailed 39-28 and will move on to play again next week.
Early in the first quarter a pass from Comets quarterback Jay Lemenager to Jacob Shoven found Shoven in the end zone and Central was up 6-0 soon after the game started. The extra point by Chandler Burrow made it 7-0.
Still in the first quarter, Shoven would intercept Mercer County’s ball and return for 39 yards, making the score 13-0.
Garrett Graham would rush for 28 yards making the score 19-0. Mercer County would respond with a touchdown and a two-point conversion and the first quarter ended 19-8 in favor of the Comets.
It was the Golden Eagles who would score first in the second quarter, making the score 19-14 in the Comets’ favor.
Lemeanger would again complete a pass to Shoven for a touchdown. The Comets then led 25-14.
With three minutes to go in the second, Lemeanger had a one-yard rushing touchdown to put the Comets up 31-14. Burrow’s exptra point was good to make it 32-14.
Mercer County responded with a touchdown at under a minute to go to the half, and the Comets led 32-20
In the third quarter, Mercher County was able to close in on the Comets to make it 26-32 and then 28-32 after a two-point conversion.
Lemenager had a 20-yard rushing touchdown to make it 38-28 and Burrow again made the extra point to make it 39-28, which would be the score until the end of the game.
Coach Brian Spooner was also pleased with the win.
“I’m really glad that we got the win, obviously, and we get to move on the quarter finals,” he said.
He said Mercer County is a quality team.
“We told our kids that it was not going to be an easy game,” he said. “You can’t look at their record because they play in a very tough conference. I think that was proven tonight.
“There were some things that we needed to do better, defensively especially. I just felt like we got an early lead and I think our kids kind of took their foot off the gas a little bit. They continued to play hard and we didn’t match the tempo of the game they kind of set forth. It really cost us. It’s something you can’t do this time of year.
“You have to be able to get stops when you need it. Too many times third down long they converted those plays and it’s one of those situations where we’ll watch the film, we’ll learn from it, we’ll get better and make sure we try to clean all that up for next week.”
Spooner said the coaches will watch the film this weekend and then go over it with the kids. “With the weather being what it is supposed to be on Monday and Tuesday, we’ll probably not go outside a whole lot. I think Wednesday and beyond that it’s supposed to be a little nicer, so we’ll probably try to spend as much time as we can going out there and getting some things done on the field.
“It will be a little different kind of week,” he said. “This time of year you never know what’s going to go on with the weather.”
Spooner said the team does well to help each other and communicate well with each other. “I think that’s a key part of our team right now.”
Spooner said the Comets he hasn’t seen Fieldcrest this year, but the Comets did face them in the quarterfinals in 2014. “I just know them by reputation,” he said.
“The head coach now was a first year coach then,” he said. “We are familiar with what they like to do. Just by reputation I know they are huge up front and they are physical. That’s something we are going to have to prepare for this week.”
The Comets fans turned out in force for the game Saturday, something Spooner said they always appreciate.
“It’s been outstanding (all year),” he said. “Another great crowd. It’s a special place when you fill the stadium and there’s lots of people here because there’s lots of noise and lots of cheering. That gets our kids fired up and makes them feel like the community is behind them, which is important.”