ROSWELL, Ga. — Centennial head coach Michael Perry gave his offense a concise goal for Friday night’s game against Region 7-AAAAAA leaders Chattahoochee — don’t turn the ball over.
The Knights were plagued by turnovers in their opening five games of the season, turning the ball over 14 times. Giveaways had been a key factor in Centennial starting the season 0-3, and even keeping things close in last week’s win over Cambridge.
But Perry’s team heeded the message Friday night, earning a crucial region win by downing Chattahoochee 45-28 at home with no turnovers.
“Offensively we said all week we have to take care of the ball,” Perry said. “We had none [Friday night] and we were really clicking on offense.”
The Knights’ offense put up 558 yards of total offense in the win with big performances throughout its ranks.
Quarterback Max Brosmer went 19-27 passing with 302 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing score.
Many of those yards went to receivers Blane Mason and Julian Nixon. Mason led the Knights with five receptions for 145 yards and Nixon had five receptions for 63 yards and two total touchdowns.
Behind what Perry called his offensive line’s best performance of the season, running back Emeka Nwanze rushed for 175 yards followed by Cal Dickie’s 54 yards.
“We were very efficient on offense,” Perry said.
While Centennial’s offense racked up points 31 points in the first half, Chattahoochee also moved the ball effectively as both teams exchanged blows throughout the half.
Perry credited his defensive coaching staff for making adjustments at halftime and holding Hooch to a single, late touchdown in the second half.
“In the first half, I thought it was going to be one of those games that comes down to whoever has the ball last,” Perry said. “But the defense really picked it up in the second half.”
Hooch opened the scoring with a touchdown on its first drive but had the PAT blocked to lead 6-0. Centennial needed just three plays to take the lead on a Nixon touchdown rush.
Chattahoochee had a quick score of their own when Max Webb scampered for an 8-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive. Hooch then scored on the 2-point conversion to go up 14-7 with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter.
A field goal from the Knights’ Nicky Solomon and a Dickie rushing score put the Knights back on top with the game still in the first.
Centennial forced a turnover on downs in the red zone on Hooch’s next drive and extended their lead to 24-14. Hooch quarterback Jack Corrigan then scored on a 6-yard rush and the Cougars converted another 2-point conversion to keep the shootout going.
With 29 seconds remaining before halftime, Brosmer rushed in the end zone from seven yards out to put the Knights ahead 31-22.
Centennial added two touchdowns from Nixon in the second half. Hooch scored on a pass from Corrigan to Webb in the fourth, but was too little too late for the Cougars.
Centennial’s win was its third straight after starting the season 0-3. The Knights improved to 3-1 in region play and sit second in the standings behind Alpharetta.
“Our confidence level is high,” Perry said. “We’re getting better every week and the kids are trusting the process.”
Chattahoochee’s loss was its first in region play, dropping the Cougars to third in the standings.
Centennial will play Northview (1-4, 1-2) on the road this Friday while Chattahoochee travels to play Johns Creek (2-4, 2-2).