CENTRAL CITY — If there was any question how Central City would respond to losing, it was answered quickly here Friday night.
The Wildcats suffered their first defeat of the season last week against Midland and needed a win over rival Springville in the annual Tractor Bowl to secure a spot in the 8-Player playoff field.
Central City forced a fumble on the first play from scrimmage and it took just two plays for Wyatt Starry to find the end zone. That started an offensive onslaught as the Wildcats rolled to a 63-22 win at the Alex Evans Athletic Complex.
Central City (8-1, 6-1 District 3), shared the title with Midland and Turkey Valley, sending all three teams to the playoffs beginning next Friday night. It will be the Wildcats’ first playoff appearance since 2008.
“Oh no,” Starry said when asked about if the team had any hangover from last week’s loss. “This playoff berth was ours. It was just a massive team effort. Everyone put in the effort in the offseason and everyone puts in all the work in practice.”
Wildcats Coach Matt Miers said the loss to Midland sent a message to his players.
“Quite honestly, we needed to be more focused,” Miers said. “It was good for us last week. It always hurts to lose, but it really got our kids’ attention and we came out ready to go.”
After Starry scored on a 3-yard run, Trey Holub broke loose on a 53-yard scamper. When Starry scored his second TD of the night, this one on a 2-yard run, the Wildcats led 24-0 before the first quarter was even half over.
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The lead grew to 36-0 on two big plays from Kyle Marsh. He caught a 59-yard TD pass from Nick Reid then took off on a 62-yard run allowing the Wildcats and their fans to start thinking about the playoffs next week.
“Our challenge this week was to come out and set the tone right away,” Miers said. “We wanted to show that we were ready to go from the start this week.”
The second half was the Isaiah Damm show for the Wildcats. He ran for three touchdowns and finished with 175 yards on 18 carries.
Springville (5-5, 3-3) got touchdowns from Caleb Weber, Spencer DeMean and Luke Menster on a blocked field goal on the final play of the game.
Starry said the playoffs won’t be any different for the Wildcats.
“This is what we’ve wanted since the beginning of the season,” he said. “We don’t care who we play or where we have to play. We’ll be ready to go.”