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home : sports : sports Tuesday, May 24, 2016

10/3/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
Central quarterback Mitch Green runs down the sideline during the Sabers’ season-opener with West Delaware. Green and teammate Chris Keitel both rushed for over 100 yards in the Sabers’ 30-14 win over Clear Creek-Amana, Friday night. Keitel rushed for two scores on the ground, while Green ran for a touchdown and threw another in the victory. Photos by Ross Eberhart
Central seniors A.J. Smith (14) and Chris Keitel (48) combine for a tackle during the second half of the Sabers’ victory over Benton earlier this season. Smith led Central with 10 tackles during the game with four solo stops and five tackles for loss, while Keitel added a pair of solo tackles in the Sabers’ win over Clear Creek-Amana.
Central gets back to business with 30-14 victory

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

Coming off an emotional road loss to Solon, the Central football team decided to get back to the basics during Friday night's 3A district 6 game with Clear Creek-Amana.

And nothing is more basic for the Sabers than running the ball... a lot.

Central did just that against the Clippers, carrying the ball a season-high 61 times for 415 yards and three touchdowns.

Not to be outdone, the Sabers scored in the air as well and the Central defense allowed less than 200 yards for the third time this year in a comfortable 30-14 win.

"We got off to sort of a slow start, but once we got into what we do, it was impressive," Central head coach Mike Miller said. "The kids executed extremely well and that's what you want to see."

It did take a little while for the Saber offense to get rolling as the first two Central drives ended in three-and-outs.

The second Saber punt was returned by Clear Creek-Amana deep into Central territory, but the Saber defense came back with a big play of their own.

The Clippers went backwards on their first play from the Central 22 and then threw an incompletion to create third down. Clear Creek-Amana tried to catch the Sabers off guard on third down and handed the ball off.

Clipper running back Jonathan Nzombo did carry the ball 12 yards, but as he was tackled the ball came loose where it was fallen on by Central senior Lucas Sheppard to end the threat.

The Sabers made the turnover hurt with its ensuing drive. Quarterback Mitch Green fired a strike to Mitch Kirby for a 14-yard gain on first down and then 13 yards on the ground for another first.

A fourth-and-two just inside midfield threw a monkey wrench in the Sabers' drive, but Central decided to go for it and Green tossed a pass to Austin Lechtenberg for a first down.

The rest of the drive stayed on the ground as fullback Chris Keitel racked up gains of four, nine and three yards. Green added a keeper for 19 yards and Jake Feldpausch picked up a first down with a seven-yard tote.

The final five yards of the drive belonged to Keitel, who bulled his way into the end zone for a touchdown. Patrick Haller added the extra point and it was 7-0 Sabers.

Clear Creek-Amana picked up one first down on its ensuing drive, but were forced to punt the ball back to the Sabers.

Central, though, had its own trouble and gave the ball right back to the Clippers. This time, Clear Creek-Amana got as far as the Saber 30 before being turned away and a 47-yard field goal attempt came up short.

Central picked up three first downs after the field goal miss, but an eight-yard loss, coupled with a blocked punt gave Clear Creek-Amana the ball in good field position.

Fortunately, the Saber defense was up to the task again and the Clipper drive ended the exact same way as the last one - with a missed 47-yard field goal.

The first Saber play after the miss set the tone for the rest of the drive as Green kept the ball for a 30-yard gain.

Two plays later, Feldpausch gained 16 yards for a first down and then added a 11-yard rush moments later to push the ball to the Clear Creek-Amana 23.

Keitel picked up eight more yards and Green did the rest, covering the final 15 yards on the ground for a touchdown. Haller added the point after and the Central lead doubled to 14.

The score went unchanged the rest of the first half and the two teams went into the break with the Sabers up by a pair of touchdowns.

Central received the ball first in the second half and picked up a first down just two plays into its opening drive, but then went backwards and were forced to punt the ball away.

The Clippers' first drive turned out the same way (Clear Creek-Amana picked up one first down, but were then forced to punt) and Central got a second chance with the ball on its own 22-yard line.

A run on first down went nowhere, but the Sabers found much better success on second as Keitel took a handoff from Green, found a crease and took off. The senior got all the way to the nine-yard line before a Clipper defender was finally able to take him down.

It only made sense then for Keitel to finish off the drive as the fullback was given the ball three-straight times after his long dash with the third carry resulting in a one-yard touchdown. Haller's extra point was blocked, but it was 20-0 Sabers.

A penalty, a tackle for loss and a sack ended the next Clear Creek-Amana drive early and the Clippers were forced to punt while facing a fourth-and-36 situation.

The Sabers started their ensuing drive from the Clipper 41 and with just three runs were already at the 10-yard line.

The Clear Creek-Amana defense stiffened and forced fourth down. Central decided to go for it and Green found Lechtenberg for a four-yard touchdown pass. The senior quarterback kept the ball for the two-point conversion and it was 28-0 with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth.

The next Clipper drive ended in a three-and-out, but Central did not have much better luck during its time with the ball as a fumble gave the ball right back to Clear Creek-Amana.

The Clippers took advantage with an 11-play drive that culminated in a six-yard touchdown pass to get on the board.

Central got a pair of big runs from James Grell and Hunter Wagener on its next drive, but a turnover in the red zone ended the Sabers' threat.

Clear Creek-Amana started its drive on the 19-yard line, but backed up five yards due to a false start.

The Clippers kept going backwards as Grell and A.J. Smith combined to sack quarterback Konrad Moore for a 13-yard loss that put the ball at the one.

Moore was then unable to advance the ball out of the end zone on third down and a safety occurred giving Central two-points and the ball.

The two teams traded punts after the safety before the Clippers scored one final time on a 27-yard pass play with just 26 seconds left to create the final 16-point margin.

Keitel and Green both went over the century mark in rushing yards with the former carrying the ball 20 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns and the latter gaining 129 yards on 17 carries with one score.

Grell had 62 yards on the ground with Feldpausch adding 48 of his own.

Green added a touchdown in the air with Lechtenberg being on the receiving end. It was one of three catches for Lechtenberg, while Sheppard had three receptions of his own.

Smith led the way on defense with 10 tackles with five coming for loss and two assisted sacks.

Drew Volrath and Jake Kagemann both had six tackles in the game with Volrath coming up with two tackles for loss. Jake Thumann, Cameron Donovan, Tyler Stillmunkes and Riley McDowell also had two tackles for loss for the Sabers, who allowed just 16 yards on the ground.

The Sabers return home for action Friday with a non-district game with Western Dubuque. The Bobcats are 3-3 on the season and defeated Central last year when the two teams were in the same district.

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