Centralia seeks to beat Mexico for the first time since 2011

4 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Friday, October 04 2019 Oct 4, 2019 Friday, October 04, 2019 1:14:10 PM CDT October 04, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
By: Alex Burke, Columbia Missourian

CENTRALIA - Centralia will look to correct past history when it faces Mexico Friday.

The Panthers come into the game undefeated at 5-0 while Mexico has had a rocky start to its season and enters with a 2-3 record. Centralia won’t be taking Mexico lightly though, as a similar situation two years ago backfired for the Panthers.

In 2017, Centralia lost to Mexico and then went on a three-game slide to end the regular season 5-4. While Centralia has not beaten Mexico since 2011, the seniors on this Panthers team feel more confident this year.

Both teams run similar styles of offense, with the Panthers running a “wing-T” spread offense, and the Bulldogs running a flex-bone offense. The Panthers offense wasn’t scoring points in bunches earlier in the season, but in the last two games the Panthers have averaged 42.5 points. Centralia coach Jim Newsted said that a big reason for the uptick in scoring is because they started throwing the ball more.

Centralia may get more opportunities to score as Mexico’s defense has been porous at times. The Bulldogs have surrendered 20 or more points three times already this season, all resulting in losses. One of the biggest battles in the game will be how Mexico’s offense performs against a strong Centralia defense that hasn’t given up more than 12 points through the first five weeks. It should be an interesting sight, as the Bulldogs notched 62 points against Clinton last week.

Coach Newsted attributes most of their defensive success to Centralia’s speed and toughness. The game is expected to get very physical, as games between Centralia and Mexico usually are.

Kickoff is set at 7 p.m. Friday at Centralia.

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