By Joe Williams
FRANKLIN — Independence quarterback Jaxson Campbell accounted for 262 of the Eagles’ 310 yards and had a hand in every score as Indy downed a scrappy Centennial squad on the road 35-14.
And he did it in less than 29 minutes.
Campbell keyed the Eagles’ (1-1, 1-0 Region 6-6A) first touchdown on the opening drive of the game with a 51-yard scamper down the left side that set up Ethan Pickering’s 3-yard plunge less than two minutes into the contest. He turned Chase Harmon’s interception into an immediate 20-yard scoring strike to Calvin Wilson, then found Brigham Morrical for 13-yards to start the second quarter. He hit Wilson for a 13-yard score late in the first half then hit Wilson again with a 41-yard strike to start the second half, giving the Eagles’ a 35-0 lead and himself a rest on the bench for the rest of the game.
Campbell finished the night 12-of-16 for 195 yards, four touchdowns and a single interception to go with four carries for 67 yards. Wilson hauled in four passes for 110 yards, three of those for scores.
“We’re still a work in progress,” Independence coach Scott Blade said. “We got some valuable experience and we’re going to need it moving forward because the schedule just gets harder and harder.
“It was good to get back on the field. Every one of these is precious. The kids obviously got better from the first time we played. It was good to get to play a lot of kids and I think, and hope, both sides got out of here injury free.”
Undersized and inexperienced, Centennial (0-3, 0-2 Region 6-6A) never gave up the fight to defend the home turf, something that did not surprise Cougar coach Matt Kriesky.
“The kids have been resilient; they’ve been fighting the last couple of weeks.
“We are a young team and we need those three scrimmages we lost, but it is what it is. We’re playing freshmen on offense and defense; we are young and inexperienced. The guys are working and playing hard. We’re big-eyed when we first walk out on the field. We don’t know what to expect. Once we calm down, we start playing.”
The Cougars had to call on junior leaders Cannon Plowman and Josh Forsee early and often. Ploughman played part-time quarterback (4-of-5 for 39 yards), part-time running back (8 carries, 23 yards), and part-time receiver (3 catches, 14 yards), while Forsee ground out the tough yards, picking up 62 markers on 11 attempts.
“Cannon Plowman and Josh Forsee are two of the toughest kids on the team. They never want to come out and they will do whatever it takes to help the team. If they keep leading and doing things the right way, we’re going to get the ball rolling in the right direction sooner than later.”
Junior Devon Reed added 31 yards on 7 carries.
Centennial will host Siegel (0-3) — a 36-7 loser to top-ranked Oakland in Region 3-6A play Friday night — next week, while Independence travels to Blackman (1-2). The Blaze overwhelmed 3-6A foe Coffee County 44-6 Friday night.
Independence 35, Centennial 14
At Cougar Stadium
I — 24 24 7 0 – 35
C — 0 0 0 14 – 14
First Downs 14 10
Rushes-Yards 18-112 30-112
Passing Yards 198 69
Comp-Att-Int 16-23-1 11-17-1
Penalties-Yards 4-45 5-25
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Independence — Jaxson Campbell 4-67, Tre Hartwell 7-27, Ethan Pickering 2-8, Brice West 2-6, Raul Cruz 1-5, Sam Hensley 1-1, Drew Blalock 1-(-2)
Centennial — Joshua Forsee 11-62, Devon Reed 7-31, Cannon Plowman 8-23, Brendan Jones 3-(-1), Kofi Boggs 1-(-3)
Independence — Jaxson Campbell 12-16-4-1 195, Hunter Howard 4-5-0-0 3, Drew Blalock 0-2-0-0
Centennial — Cannon Plowman 4-5-0-0 39, Brendan Jones 7-12-0-1 30
Independence — Calvin Wilson 4-110, Tyler Kendra 3-41, Brigham Morrical 2-21, Josh Amor 1-10, Tre Hartwell 1-7, Ty Lockwood 1-6, Josh Owens 3-4, Anthony Rooney 1-(-1)
Centennial — Kofi Boggs 1-15, Cannon Plowman 4-16, Camden Brock 2-13, Elia Keur 1-13, Hunter Lewis 1-10, Josh Forsee 1-2, Alex Pierz 1-0