For The Daily Item
Jarrod Flick, a senior receiver/cornerback, stopped a drive Danville desperately needed with a phenomenal red-zone interception, and then made consecutive back-breaking catches to give Central Columbia a two-score lead as Central Columbia toppled Danville, 21-7, on Friday in a battle of District 4 Class AA unbeatens.
Central — despite 30 pass attempts and 188 yards from Jordan Thivierge — rushed the ball for 158 game-controlling yards and held the Ironmen to just 67 or less than 3 yards a pop.
“We pride ourselves on our run defense and we missed tackles,” said Danville coach Jim Keiser. “That’s not something we usually do.”
The Jays (5-0) dominated the first-half time of possession, with four drives that averaged 10 plays and four minutes of game time.
The first, helped by a pass interference call on third-and-11 in Danville territory, ended with a Kowalski 8-yard touchdown run. The others served to keep the Ironmen off the field and their offense out of rhythm.
“You have to be able to run the football,” said Jays coach Jason Hippenstiel. “That’s a team that prides itself on shutting that down and then picking the ball off when you have to throw.
“(Offensive coordinator Kirk Seesholtz) did a great job of mixing it up; they had no idea what was coming at any point.”
Danville’s best drive of the half ended suddenly on third-and-1 from the 11 when Dylan Hine (on one of the handful of blitzes Hippenstiel called) blindsided quarterback Weston Baylor. It forced a fumble recovered by Central’s Jake Klinger.
With just 67 total yards and a 7-0 deficit at halftime, the Ironmen (4-1) took the opening kickoff and put together a strong drive. Baylor completed passes of 16 and 23 yards, and fullback Sam Dressler gained 21 on four carries to move the ball to the Central 15.
On third down, Baylor threw a strong out to Bret Berg on the right sideline. The ball glanced off Berg’s hands and Flick, in pursuit to the ball, plucked the ball right at the sideline and was awarded an interception at the 2.