Words: Giana Han
On Friday, Nov. 8, Centennial’s seniors finished their high school career with a win over Hammond High School.
Centennial kicked it off to start the game, and Hammond drove down the field, running the ball relentlessly. Hammond scored with 6:11 left in the first quarter, and the Eagle’s found themselves down 7-0.
Quinn Western had a 20-yard kick return, but the Eagles were unable to score and the ball was returned to the Golden Bears. This time the Eagles held them, and a sack from Logan Tignall and Austin Kraisser led to a Hammond turnover.
A 65-yard touchdown from Walter Fletcher brought the Eagles within one point, 7-6. They missed the extra point, but a flag on the play gave the Eagles a second chance. The Eagles then decided to go for the two-point conversion, and ended the quarter leading the Bears, 8-7.
Hammond was the first to score in the second quarter, but a missed extra point left the score at 13-8.
Before the end of the half, the Eagles scored two more times, going into the locker room up 24-13.
Opening up the second half, the Eagles increased their lead to 31-19 with another touchdown. The Golden Bears responded with a touchdown of their own, and attempted to close the gap in the score with a two point conversion; they were unable to convert and found themselves down 31-19.
At the end of the third quarter, Chase Conley caught a pass from Tyler Morris for a touchdown, and the quarter ended with a score of 38-19.
In the final quarter, Conley scored another touchdown after receiving a pass from Morris. Western had a great interception that unfortunately did not lead to a touchdown. However, four minutes later, Western ran in the final touchdown for the year, and Sam Reichenthal kicked the final extra point of the year, making the final score 53-19.
“We put a great game together. It’s the last game. We put it all out on the line,” said senior Joey Shapiro. “It means everything [after] coming in as freshmen, working hard for four years, to be able to come out on top.”
Through the wins and losses, grueling practices, and pasta parties, the team has become a family. “I’m going to miss the team bonding,” said Fletcher. “Seeing them at school and then coming to practice – they’re my family.”
“We’re brothers,” Shapiro added. “I’m going to miss them all so much.”
As Shapiro said, the team put everything on the line for their last game, and, within the final quarter of the game and of his season, Fletcher was able to accomplish a goal he’d had since his freshman year.
With 1753 rushing yards, Fletcher broke Centennial’s single season rushing record. “It was my last time on the field. I gave it my all,” said Fletcher. “It feels great. I worked hard since freshmen year to get where I am now – my hard work paid off.”
That night, the 2013 Centennial football team left behind a legacy. They finished the season with a 7-3 record, a winning season, and something that had not been accomplished by the Eagles in most of the student’s memories.
“The best part [of the season] was definitely beating Hebron,” said Fletcher, reflecting back on the season; Shapiro voiced the identical opinion.
The 29 seniors ended their high school careers on a high note, and they will be missed. “Being here for four years, it’s all I know. It’s going to be different not playing for Centennial,” said Fletcher.
Centennial’s seniors are Ben Bloom, Tyler Boettcher, Melvin Boulware, Wesley Brown, Luc Chausse, Joseph Choi, Chase Conley, Kade Conner, Steve Doney, Sean Donohue, Walter Fletcher, Jose Gomez, Adam Haj Hammad, Justin Haver, Josh Kim, John Kolp, Carlos Lucero, Tom Lund, Jabari Mansell, Connor Marcinek, Connor McAnallen, Tyler Morris, Michael Price, Damon Reaves, Sam Reichenthal, Anthony Saunders, Joey Shapiro, Logan Tignall, and Quinn Western.