ROSWELL, Ga. – Centennial overcame the loss of the team’s starting quarterback to an injury, piling up 400 yards of offense in a 45-34 victory over Johns Creek last Friday night in the Region 6-AAAAAA opener for both teams.
Junior Luke Able and sophomore Tee Holland split time at quarterback after starter Matthew Harries suffered a thumb injury in practice early last week. Able completed 13 of 19 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns, with Holland seven of 12 for 78 yards and a score.
The two Centennial quarterbacks got help from standout receiver Christian Robinson, who caught nine passes for 105 yards and two TDs, and versatile Caden Herring, who had 124 yards receiving, 54 yards rushing and scored twice.
Johns Creek (0-4) led 14-13 in the second quarter, but Robinson caught two touchdowns late in the period, one for 5 yards from Holland and one for 17 yards from Able, to put the Knights (1-3) ahead 27-14 at the half.
The Gladiators fumbled away the second half and Centennial capitalized, scoring on an 18-yard pass from Able to Stefan Young. The Knights held off a Johns Creek comeback on a 62-yard touchdown reception by Herring on a screen pass and a clinching 47-yard field goal by Devin O’Neill with three minutes to play.
The first two Centennial scores came on a 3-yard run by Herring and an interception return by Alex Estes.
Chase Solomon keyed the Johns Creek offense, rushing for 127 yards and three touchdowns, including a 53-yarder for a score. Quarterback Kevin Nalecz added 98 yards rushing and 90 yards passing and scored twice for the Gladiators.
Turner Fortin keyed the Johns Creek defense with 13 tackles.
“Our kids showed a lot of character,” Centennial coach Jeff Carlberg said of his team’s response to the loss of its quarterback. “They did a great job of finishing off drives.
“This win puts us in a position to fight for the playoffs,” he said.
The Knights next host defending region champion West Forsyth (2-2), which lost its region opener to Alpharetta. Johns Creek is at home Friday against next door rival Chattahoochee (2-2), which also lost its first region game.