Central struggles in season opener

Nick Sylvester takes his position at the line of scrimmage.


The Central Warriors hosted the Janesville Wildcats Friday, losing the season-opening game by a score of 54-12.  

In first quarter action, Janesville moved ahead with 6:02 left to play on a 20-yard pass from Hunter Meyer to Jack Thode. The extra point kick by Meyer was good. Meyer threw another TD pass, this time to Jacob Hahn, with 1:28 to go, making the score 14-0 at the end of the quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Meyer kicked a field goal with 11:02 left. Meyer then scored a touchdown on a 6-yard rush with 9:09 left.  His extra-point kick was good.  With 1:51 left, the Wildcat’s defense scored a safety. A few seconds later, Janesville’s Josiah Hovenga returned a kick-off for 62 yards to score a touchdown.  The extra point by Meyer was successful, putting the score at 33-0 as the half ended.

In third quarter action, Janesville scored with 10:11 left on an 8-yard pass to Caleb Rieken.  Meyer kicked the successful extra-point. Central replied with a 2-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Hopp with 7:55 left in the quarter.  A 2-point rush failed.  

A few seconds later, Janesville scored again on a 55-yard pass from Meyer to Thode, followed by a successful extra-point kick with 7:39 left. Janesville struck again with 4:15 left on a 48-yard run by Kevin Hahn. Meyer’s extra-point was good. The final score in the game came with 1:18 left in the third quarter when Central’s Derek Ehrhardt scored on a 3-yard run.  The 2-point rush failed, leaving the final score at 54-12.

Isaiah Hopp was 5-16 in the air for a total of 42 yards. Ehrhardt caught three for 29 yards and Patrick Tajaran caught two for 13 yards.

Tajaran carried the ball seven times for 73 yards, followed by Aaron Hoth, who rushed eight times for 57 yard and Hopp, who rushed 18 times for 43 yards.  Devon Frank had four carries for ten yards and Drew Reinhardt contributed three yards on two carries.

Hopp led the team in assisted and solo tackles with nine, followed by frank with seven and Ben Backes, Shawn Fults, Kennie Orr, and Tajaran with five each.  Hoth had three, and Ethan Grant, Reinhardt, Blake Rodenberg each had two. Sam Hilgerson and Elijah Hopp each had one tackle.

“Our defense played very well at times, but had a few miscues that resulted in long TDs,” Coach Tom Wilwert said.  “Our offensive line had trouble adjusting to their defense. After our halftime adjustments, we were able to move the ball better. Pat Tajaran and Derek Ehrhardt played very well.  Kennie Orr and Blake Rodenberg did a good job controlling the interior of the defensive line. We will get better.  I know these young athletes.  They are not satisfied playing at this level, and they will not let it continue.”

Who’s who on the team

The Central Warrior football team returns several key letter winners to the team this year.  Returning seniors are Edosa Grau, Devon Frank, Kenny Merrill and Sam Hilgerson and juniors Neil Kelly, Isaiah Hopp, Shawn Fults, Nathan Fitzgerald and Ben Tschirgi. Merrill, Hopp, Fults, Tschirgi, Kelly, Fitzgerald and Grau are also returning starters.

They are joined by seniors Patrick Tajaran and juniors Ethan Grant, Blake Rodenberg, Kennie Orr and Shana Hilgerson. The sophomore contingent consists of Aaron Hoth, Ben Backes, Jason Cummer, Keaton Bolsinger, Jeran Cook and Spencer Bries, while the freshman class is represented by Derek Ehrhardt, Nick Sylvester, Ted Hilgerson, Drew Reinhardt, Dakota Casper, Elijah Hopp, Lane McGreal, Jon Scherf, Zach Hunt and Lucas Bente.

“Orr, Hilgerson, Hoth, Backes and Ehrhardt will be the key newcomers this year,” Coach Tom Wilwert said.  “We played many young players at skill positions in 2012, giving them valuable experience. However, we graduated most of our varsity linemen. We have a very good group coming in, but they are less experienced.”

By Pat McTaggart, Freelance Writer

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