The Cleveland Central Wolves saw a penalty-riddled night end in a 28-13 Region 2-5A loss to the Germantown Mavericks here Friday night at Parks Field at Mickey Sellers Stadium.
The Wolves fell to 3-7 overall with a 2-3 mark in the region. Germantown improved to 5-4 overall with a 4-1 mark in the region.
The Wolves are currently tied for fourth place in the region while the Mavericks are sitting in second place behind Holmes County Central, which owns a 5-0 region mark (8-1 overall).
Besides the 18 penalties committed by the Wolves, the other issues, which resulted in the loss included their struggles to run the football and stop the run on defense.
Germantown totaled 223 rushing yards on the night with two rushing touchdowns, while Cleveland Central could only muster 13 rushing yards off 22 carries with one rushing score.
Another contributing factor to Cleveland Central’s struggles was that many of the critical skill players were on the sideline in street clothes due to injuries.
Germantown opened the game with an impressive drive that was aided by a couple of penalties from the Wolves. The drive culminated in a 51-yard pass from Colton Gardner to Ken Richmond with 9:41 on the first quarter clock. Lance Dalton added the point after for a 7-0 Germantown lead.
Later in the quarter, the Mavericks’ defense got in on the scoring when a pass from Latravious Miller to Marcus Franklin popped in the air and was picked off by Germantown’s A.J. Edwards and returned 10 yards for a TD with 4:43 left in the first. The kick after from Dalton made it 14-0.
The Cleveland defense made some noise to start the second quarter when Jawonta Woodruff was able to strip the ball away from Gardner and return it 20 yards for a touchdown with 11:15 on the clock. Andres Becerril-Nieves added the point after for a 14-7 ball game.
The next two possessions resulted in punts, but with 33 seconds left in the first half the Mavericks capped off a drive with a seven-yard touchdown run from Nick Barnes. The kick after was good for a 21-7 lead that ended the first half with the Mavericks in control.
The Wolves punted to start the third quarter. The Mavericks took control and drove the ball down the field. Cleveland’s defense bent, but didn’t break as they forced a field goal attempt from the Mavericks.
Senior defensive end Tyler Smith put an end to that when he charged through the line and blocked the field goal attempt to end the drive and give the ball back to Cleveland Central’s offense with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter.
The CCHS offense responded with its best drive of the night, which was aided by a few penalties from Germantown. The trip lasted through the third quarter into the fourth and with 11:07 left in the game, Malik Pates scored on a short run. The point after was blocked by the Mavericks but the Wolves cut the Mavericks’ lead to 21-13.
On the next possession, the Mavericks started moving the ball, but the Wolves’ defense stood tall and forced a fourth down with two yards to go for a first on the Mavericks’ 48-yard line.
Germantown lined up to go for it but didn’t have to snap the ball because the Wolves got too anxious and jumped offsides giving Germantown the first down.
A couple plays later, the Wolves were called for a face mask penalty which ultimately led to a 19-yard touchdown run from Barnes with 5:58 left in the game. The kick after made it 28-13.
Cleveland tried to drive the ball, but it was ultimately stopped by the Mavericks who were able to take control and kneel on the ball to end the game.
For CCHS, Miller finished the night completing 10-of-21 passes for 122 yards with one interception. Pates recorded the team’s only offensive touchdown as he carried the ball three times for eight yards. Reggie Pinkston recorded three catches for 46 yards, Tanaryea Slaughter had four catches for 32 yards, and Franklin added three catches for 44 yards to round out the offense for the Wolves.
Woodruff led the Wolves’ defense with five tackles and a strip fumble return for a touchdown. Patrick Davis added three solos with eight assists, and Caziah Strong added six solos and five assists.
Germantown was led by Barnes who finished with 168 yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns. Gardner completed 5-of-9 passes for 107 yards with a touchdown.
Cleveland will travel to Philadelphia to play Neshoba Central at 7 p.m. Friday.