ST. PAUL — Class C-2, No. 2 St. Paul remained undefeated after defeating Centura 57-7.
With the win, the 8-0 Wildcat have all but clinched the Class C-2, District 6 title.
St. Paul ran for over 400 yards with eight rushing touchdowns in the game, and threw for an additional 200 plus.
Coach Rusty Fuller said the game plan was to keep doing what they have been doing all season — run the ball.
“When you have four backs in the backfield that run hard, the plan is always run first,” he said.
Eli Larson scored four of the Wildcats’ six touchdowns in the first half. The other two were by Brenden Knapp and Tommy Wroblewski in the second quarter.
Fuller said his defense was also a really big player in this win.
“Our defense has been great all year, especially holding teams on the rush,” he said.
St. Paul’s defense forced Centura to punt five times. The Wildcats held the Centurions to 1-yard rushing and only around 70 yards passing in the game.
Centura scored its lone touchdown early in the first quarter when Tyler Ruhl scored on a 4-yard run.
Fuller said after playing a little soft on Centura’s first possession of the game, his guys really settled in and the defensive line really played well.
“They got their press coverage in and we started making plays,” he said. “Our defensive line and linebackers started putting pressure on Tyler Ruhl. He’s a great quarterback. If you give him time to throw, he’s going to hurt you.”
From there on, the Wildcats defense was lights out.
St. Paul answered on its next possession also in only two plays with an 80-yard run by Larson.
From there St. Paul dominated the game, shutting out Centura the rest of the way.
Centurion head coach Cory Bohling said he knew coming into the game that St. Paul would be tough, but even he was surprised by exactly how tough.
“We knew it was a tough get. We threw our chips in. We thought we had a great game plan, we really did. We just didn’t execute in spots,” he said.
The Wildcats scored once more in the first quarter on a Larson run from 1-yard out with 1:44 left.
St. Paul continued to dominate in the second quarter on two Larson touchdowns and a QB keeper by Knapp, and an interception by Wroblewski.
With 6:33 left in the quarter, Wroblewski picked off a Ruhl pass and ran it back from 29- yards out. St. Paul was up 44-7 at halftime.
The second half was more of the same as the Wildcats scored one touchdown in the third quarter on Jackson Seward’s 11-yard run and tacked on one more in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run by Hunter Gravatt.
Fuller said it was great to see Seward score in front of the home crowd on senior night.
“We said we have to get Jackson one, and finally that second half he punched it in there,” he said. “He’s such a great leader, a great kid, I was very excited to see that.”
Although St. Paul knows they will be in the playoffs, Fuller said they are focused on their next game against Grand Island Central Catholic
“We know we are in. We probably have a home seed, but we are not really going to pay attention to that until we get done with GICC,” he said.
Centura falls to 5-3 with the loss. Bohling said looking at the points, they still have a good chance of making the postseason.
“Counting them up if we win next week, we are in,” Bolling said.
He said his team is looking at next Thursday’s game with Broken Bow (1-6) as a one-game season.
“I like that position for our kids. That’s kind of how we are, that’s how we play, one game at a time, one week at a time,” he said.