Prep Football

Central City proves it, knocks off 9th-ranked Turkey Valley, 56-42

CENTRAL CITY — An alumnus came up to Central City football coach Matt Miers in the middle of the postgame hubbub Friday night and offered his congratulations.

“You’ve won more games (this season) than I did in all four years,” the man said, as he shook Miers’ hand. “That was fun to watch.”

Winning is fun, and these Wildcats are having a lot of fun. A 56-42 victory over ninth-ranked Turkey Valley was no fluke.

This is a good 8-Player team. It has size up front, backs with quickness and toughness and a 6-foot-6 quarterback it can fall back upon, if needed.

Not to mention a bit of a chip on its shoulder, apparently.

“That was our whole week,” said 6-foot-1, 290-pound lineman Nile Coghlan. “You guys had that livestream and picked them. One of you said ‘Prove me wrong.’ That’s what we wanted to do. That’s what fueled us. To prove you guys wrong. And I think that’s what we did.”

He didn’t mean that to sound ornery or in a told-you-so way. This was a proving-ground game for a school and program that hasn’t had much football success.

Central City (5-0) has just one playoff appearance on its resume (2008) and went 3-7 and 4-6 the previous two seasons. Turkey Valley (4-1) always has had good football.

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“It’s just been a ton of hard work,” Miers said. “The kids are the ones working hard right now. They’re getting after it in the weight room, they’re going out for multiple sports, out for track. We’re lifting on game days, going hard. The kids have put in the commitment.”

“That was our motto a couple of years ago: making a new tradition,” said back Isaiah Damm. “We’re taking it to the next level now.”

Damm rushed 26 times for 235 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Central City, coming fairly close to matching his season yardage total coming in his four previous games (298). Trey Holub is the star of this team (he had three second-half TDs), but he’s not the lone cowboy offensively.

Kyle Marsh also had a pair of touchdowns, with QB Nick Reid throwing a TD pass and catching one. He didn’t play a whole lot, as CC went with a three-back approach (Holub a spin back) most of the evening.

The Wildcats had 411 yards on the ground. A 1-yard Marsh-to-Reid touchdown pass in the dying seconds of the first half put them ahead at the break, 30-22.

The second half was primarily ground and pound.

“On our last drive of the first half, they were putting their hands on their hips. They were tired,” Coghlan said. “So we knew in the second half, they would still be tired, and we wanted to keep the pedal down. Wanted to just keep running them.”

Quarterback Ethan Leibold accounted for all six Turkey Valley touchdowns: four rushing and two passing. He also had a pair of 2-point runs and a 2-point pass.

“As a team, I think we know we can play at this level,” Miers said. “I think the kids were kind of like ‘Hey, we really want to show we can be a top-10 team.’”

They’ll probably be one next week, going from the unsung hunter to the hunted.

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“That’s going to be different for us,” Damm said. “We’re not used to it. But I think we’re going to do fine.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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