Macon and Centralia came into the final regular season game with indentical 7-1 records, with the No. 2 seed in Class 3, District 6 up for grabs.
Both teams have very explosive offenses, so you would expect a fairly close game. But, no one told that to the host Panthers.
Centralia received the ball to open the game and, on the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Zach Etzler connected with receiver Logan Armontrout on a 60-yard touchdown reception. The PAT gave the Panthers a quick 7-0 advantage.
The Tigers would come back on their first drive, taking the ball 80 yards on seven plays, culminating with a 13-yard touchdown run by Joe Lewis. The PAT from Brandon Sontheimer tied the game at 7-7, which would hold at the end of the first quarter. Lineman Jordan Lolli would cover up a fumble in the period.
Centralia began the second period with a 1st & 10 at their own 25, but would push their way into Tiger territory. With a 1st & 10 at the Macon 47, Etzler would loft a 40-yard pass to receiver Gannon Peavler to the Tiger 7, before Etzler took it the final yards for the score, giving the Panthers a 14-7 lead.
After a three-and-out, Macon was forced to punt. The kick would be down at the Tiger 31, and Centralia would capitalize.
The Panthers drove to the Macon 18, before Etzler hit tight-end Chandler Blackwell on a 18-yard TD reception, increasing the lead to 21-7.
After another Tiger punt, the Panthers again drove into Macon ground, but the Tiger defense would snuff out the drive, as Sontheimer recovered a fumble to end that threat.
After driving to midfield, Macon was forced to punt once again. The Panthers final drive of the half would eat up almost all of the clock. The drive would bear fruit for Centralia, as Etzler hit Blackwell for a 9-yard touchdown catch, giving the Panthers a halftime lead of 28-7.
Macon would get the ball first in the second half, but would be forced into another punting situation.
On the return, Panther Peyton Horton would outrace everyone on a 60-yard return for a TD, giving Centralia a 35-7 lead.
After trading possessions, the Panthers would score again, on a 29-yard pass from Etzler to Peavler, pushing the Centralia lead to 42-7 with 4:30 in the third quarter.
Macon would eat up the rest of the third quarter clock on the ensuing drive. QB Craig Smith would hit receiver Brendan Watts on a 32-yard pass to get into Panther territory. As time ran out, Smith would hit Watts again on a 31-yard reception for a touchdown, making the score 42-14 heading into the final frame.
The Panthers would score the games' final points with 8:09 on the clock. Centralia would get five first downs on the drive, and Armontrout would haul in a 12-yard pass from Etzler for a TD, making the final score 49-14.
Page 2 of 2 - Macon's QB, Craig Smith, would 9/19 on passing for 106 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, Chris Little would have 10 carries for 46 yards. Joe Lewis had four carries for 37 yards and a TD.
Through the air, Brendan Watts had five catches for 106 yards and a TD. Jon Murray had a catch for 20 yards. Ethan Pagliai had a catch for seven yards.
On defense, Brandon Sontheimer had 12 tackles and a sack. Bradley Burkhardt had nine tackles.
CJ Gast had six tackles and a sack. Christian Thrasher, Josh Turner, Jordan Lolli and Clint Shannon each had four tackles.
The Macon Tigers finish the regular season with a record of 7-2 overall (7-2 CCC), wrapping up a 3rd place finish in the CCC.
Macon also secures the 3rd seed in the Class 3, District 6 Tournament. Their first game will be Thursday night, at home, against the 4-5 Boonville Pirates. Gametime is 7 p.m. at Hugh Dunn Field.