Speed usually produces big plays on the football field. And big plays often add up to success.
Such was the case Friday night in Albion as visiting Centennial parlayed touchdown strikes of 37, 56, 40 and 83 yards into a 41-13 victory over the Boone Central Cardinals.
Boone Central (0-4) had some of its better offensive success of the season, as well, but the Cardinals again lost the turnover battle (0-2) and allowed the swift Broncos to amass 321 passing yards.
Much of Centennial’s damage was done by senior QB Kendall Kucera throwing to senior WR Tyler Wullenwaber – one of the fastest athletes in Nebraska.
Wullenwaber grabbed a 56-yard bomb from Kucera to give Centennial a 13-0 second-quarter lead, latched onto a 40-yard strike in the third period and iced the contest with an 83-yard streak in the final stanza.
“Centennial’s speed obviously hurt us on both sides of the ball,” commented Boone Central Coach Arnie Johnson. “We had a great week of practice and the kids have a great attitude.
“We can still get a lot better if we continue to work together.”
Centennial showed its explosiveness from the outset. The Broncos took over at their own 10-yard line following Boone Central’s initial punt of the game and Kucera immediately hooked up with Wullenwaber for a 47-yard pass-and-run gain to the Cardinal 42. Three plays later, Kucera lofted his first TD pass of the night to junior WR Robert Homp with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter. The PAT failed.
Boone Central appeared to match that score on its following possession. Senior QB Julian Kunzman hit Keenan Howell with a quick slant pass and the junior raced through Centennial’s secondary to complete an apparent 52-yard touchdown play.
The Cards were called for a clipping penalty inside the 10-yard line, however, and were left with a 1st-and-10 at the 17. Kunzman was sacked on third down and a pass on 4th-and-long fell incomplete.
Moments later, it was again Kucera to Wullenwaber, this time for a 40-yard touchdown with 10:17 remaining in the first half. Centennial tacked on the extra point to lead 13-0.
The host Cardinals responded as senior Kevin Liss broke loose on the ensuing kickoff with a return to the Centennial 29-yard line. Kunzman connected with Liss on a 4th-down pass to the four and senior HB Jerad McLean burst into the end zone from three yards out with 7:22 left in the second period. Alex Schafer’s PAT kick pulled the Cards within six, 13-7.
Boone Central’s defense could not stymie the Bronco attack, however. Kucera passed for gains of 11 and 13 yards and HB Braylon Gierhan rambled through the heart of the Card ‘D’ to the five-yard line. Three plays later, Gierhan crashed through tackle attempts on a two-yard TD run and Centennial took a 21-7 lead into halftime with a successful two-point conversion pass. Geirhan’s interception set up Kucera’s second TD toss to Wullenwaber – the 40-yarder – with 1:00 remaining in the third quarter and the PAT put the Broncos on top 28-7.
Boone Central reached into its bag of tricks early in the fourth, Logan Frey lofting a halfback pass to a wide-open Howell for a 35-yard TD with 10:50 remaining. The PAT failed.
The Cards forced Centennial’s first punt of the night and threatened again when junior Lane Anderson raced to the Bronco 34 on a reverse. A sack and incompletion turned the ball back to Centennial and Kucera found Wullenwaber streaking down the left sideline on the following play. The 83-yard hook-up and ensuing PAT gave the visitors a commanding 35-13 advantage with five minutes to play.
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