All of the goals for the Ankeny Centennial football team are still in play.
Elijah Porter ran for three touchdowns and the Jaguars raised their record to 4-3 with a 43-7 victory over Des Moines Roosevelt on Friday at Drake Stadium. The Roughriders dropped to 3-4.
“We started off awful slow, and then we got some steam there in the second quarter and started clicking,” said Centennial co-head coach Ryan Pezzetti, whose team was 13th in the Class 5A RPI rankings heading into the game. “We scored a little bit in the third quarter, and once we got the (running) clock moving, we emptied the bench to try to stay healthy.”
With games remaining against Waukee Northwest and at Urbandale, Centennial is hoping to finish the regular season at 6-3. The Jaguars could move up far enough in the RPI rankings to host a first-round playoff game.
“I think we could maybe get as high as fifth or sixth,” Pezzetti said. “We obviously have to continue to win. We just need to keep on taking care of ourselves. We just don’t have enough depth to overcome injuries right now.”
A year ago, Valley struggled to a 5-4 record during the regular season. But the Tigers got hot in the playoffs and advanced to the Class 5A championship game.
Pezzetti thinks there could be another surprise team in this year’s playoffs.
“I really think this is the one year that if the right team gets healthy at the right time, this is the year that there could be a unique team that wins (the title),” he said.
The Jaguars looked like a legitimate contender on Friday. They built a 33-0 halftime lead and then cruised to the win.
After Centennial’s Jack Cahill returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, Roosevelt controlled the ball for most of the first quarter. The Roughriders were unable, however, to complete their drives.
“We had one offensive play in the first quarter, and it was an interception,” Pezzetti said. “They controlled the ball well on us, but when their quarterback (Jecari Patton) got hurt in the second quarter, that really hurt their offense. He was making some nice plays.”
The Jaguars extended their lead to 13-0 on a 26-yard pass from Trenton Smith to Chase Schutty. Porter then followed with a trio of touchdown runs, including one from 41 yards out that increased the margin to 33-0 late in the half.
Ryan Bendezu kicked a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter, then Braeden Jackson scored on an 8-yard run just 2 minutes later to make it 43-0.
“At times we executed pretty well, but at times we didn’t,” Pezzetti said. “In the end, we executed. The running backs played really well. As a unit we played well, but we know there’s room for improvement going into next week.”
Centennial’s defense also came up with some big plays. Isaiah Bassett recovered a fumble, while Drake Dittmar and Eric Fields each had an interception.
The Jaguars will host Waukee Northwest (5-2) on Friday. The Wolves are coming off a 76-14 win over Ottumwa.