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Wheatland Sun

Center defense overpowers Marysville for Senior Night win

Oct 21, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Steven Bryla

Marysville junior defensive end Gerald Prescott tackles Center senior running back Benny Tafoya during a 20-0 loss to the Cougars on Thursday, October 20 in Antelope.

Center defense overpowers Marysville for Senior Night win [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

ANTELOPE, CA (MPG) - The Marysville Indians’ three-game win streak in the Pioneer Valley League was snapped by the Center Cougars in a 20-0 loss on Thursday night in Antelope.

The Center (5-4, 2-4 PVL) defense shut down the Marysville (6-3, 3-2 PVL) offense, which came into the game averaging 286 yards with their Wing-T based offense.

Indians head coach Will Claggett told the Dispatch that the Cougars were more physical than Marysville. 

“They were strong at the point of attack,” Claggett told the Dispatch. 

He added the schemes Center did were what the Indians saw in the previous two games against Bear River and Wheatland, but the Cougars made Marysville struggle to get any type of push on the offensive side of the ball.

The Indians defense, who came in averaging 18 points allowed per game, kept Marysville in the thick of things. The first quarter was a defensive battle as the game was scoreless at the end of the first. Indians senior outside linebacker Maddox Marino intercepted Center quarterback Elias Bonds on the Cougars first possession of the game.

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Center got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when senior running back Benny Tafoya scored the first of his two rushing touchdowns on the night from the two-yard line. Marysville punted three times and had one turnover on downs in the first half.

The Cougars attempted a 47-yard field goal to end the first half, but the kick was well short to keep the lead 7-0 at the end of the first half.

Center started with the ball in the second half and faced a long third down on their opening possession, but Bonds threw a 54-yard screen pass to Tafoya that put the Cougars in great scoring position. Tafoya added his second rushing touchdown of the night from the two-yard line to extend the Center lead to 14 halfway through the third quarter.

The Indians had a good drive going on the next position until senior running back Danny Lanini fumbled and gave the ball back to the Cougars. Bonds then threw a long touchdown pass that extended the lead to 20 after a missed extra point attempt. 

Marysville only had two offensive possessions in the second half due to Center having long possessions that ate a lot of time off the clock. Indians senior defensive tackle Jack Howsley reiterated the message his coach told the Dispatch about physicality. 

“They beat us on the line, pushed us around and schemed it up good,” Howsley said.

RELATED: Indians duo runs over Bulldogs late in second half to improve to 3-1

Marysville was projected as the fourth seed in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoffs, according to MaxPreps on October 16.

The Indians final game is against Twelve Bridges next Friday, October 28 and will be for second place in the PVL. Twelve Bridges was projected as the seventh seed in the CIF SJS Division 6 playoffs in the latest MaxPreps rankings. The Indians game versus the Raging Rhinos is also the last home game for Marysville, which is Senior Night.

Howsley told the Dispatch that Marysville needs to have a great week at practice.

“The most important thing is to be brothers, keep balling and don’t quit on each other,” Howsley said.

Claggett told the Dispatch that he wants everyone to enjoy the environment.

“At our home field, we’re very close to the fans to begin with,” Claggett said.

Claggett added that Senior Night is a good time for the players to reflect on their time as an Indians football player, but when the warm-ups begin, it will be time to lock in.

Kickoff in Marysville is scheduled for 7 p.m.