The Ankeny Centennial offense looked like it might have found something early Friday night.
The unit, which hadn’t scored previously this season, started the game with back-to-back big gains from Trey Porter to secure a first down on the Waukee 24-yard line.
The Jaguars would get to the 13-yard line, but a missed field goal left the large zero illuminating on the scoreboard.
Porter and his squad would battle throughout the game, hanging in it until the final minutes, and even scored the first points of the night. It just wasn’t enough to keep Waukee from taking a 24-7 win on Centennial’s senior night.
The loss drops the Jaguars to 0-3 to start the season, but there were clearly signs of improvement in this latest loss.
“We’re getting better each game,” said Porter, who rushed for 87 yards on 12 carries. “That’s really all that matters and once playoffs come, you’ve got to get the wins there.”
Porter started off the game rolling with a plethora of runs to the outside to break into some open field and putting the Jaguars in prime position to score.
Quarterback JJ Kohl would finish off an early drive with a 25-yard strike to Peyton Goode in coverage to give his team a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
“We did our jobs early,” Porter said. “We did a pretty good job blocking and picking up those outside runs. I’m pretty proud of the team today. We got better.”
The Jaguars would hold off Waukee momentarily, taking advantage of undisciplined penalties on the Warriors’ offense, but ended up giving up a 40-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Smith late in the first quarter.
Smith wasn’t done, either. Midway through the second quarter, he would earn the reception on another touchdown to give Waukee a 14-7 lead.
Whether it was because of the defense, the increasing amount of rain falling down, or both teams’ inability to gather and utilize momentum, the score remained the same until late in the game.
Centennial failed to convert yet another third down in the fourth quarter, while the ball sat on its own 16-yard line. Punter Tyler Johnson was set to boot a kick down the field, but was roughed by Waukee’s Smith in the process.
It looked like Centennial would secure a first down–and more importantly another chance for a game-tying drive–but the referees ruled the penalty was offset by a false start.
Johnson’s second punt went left quickly and ended up short, giving Waukee some incredibly favorable field position. The Warriors would convert on a field goal a few plays later.
Centennial had a glimmer of hope left on the last drive, but an interception with a pair of minutes remaining on the clock sealed the deal on the Warriors’ victory.
Despite its 0-3 record, Centennial will qualify for the playoffs due to the 2020 amendment of eligibility for the postseason. Everybody gets in.
It gives every team a chance to compete and see what it’s like in the playoffs.
And, that’s a great opportunity for this young, budding Centennial squad.
The big tests will keep coming for the Jaguars, though, as the team resumes its 2020 season on Friday at Johnston. The Dragons are fresh off an upset of top-ranked Dowling Catholic.
At this point, it’s another chance to get better.