ROSWELL, Ga. — On a football field, there’s no escaping chilly weather. The wide-open space allows cool winds to sting your face without obstruction. Metal benches freeze your backside. The turf, designed to stay cool, chills your feet through whatever layers may cover them.
It’s not an atmosphere conducive to having gallons of icy Powerade dumped over your head. But following Centennial’s 48-14 playoff victory over Lanier Friday night, Knights’ head coach Michael Perry didn’t seem to mind his unexpected, chilly shower.
The triumph ended Centennial’s 15-year winless drought in the playoffs in Perry’s first season at the helm.
“This is foreign to Centennial football,” Perry said. “It’s not common to be in this situation. I’m just really proud of our kids who bought in and to our assistant coaches.”
Perry said he has been fortunate to lead multiple teams in the playoffs prior to coming to Centennial. He said the focus for the Knights this week was to not preoccupy themselves with the implications of a win or loss.
“We preached all week that this is game number 12 when you count the scrimmage, and we’re going to treat it like any other game,” he said. “We didn’t concern ourselves with brackets or anything like that. It’s always the looser team that seems to prevail.”
Treating the win-or-go-home contest like any other game played out like so many games of late have for the Knights.
For the sixth-straight game the Knights scored 45 points or more. Their defense allowed fewer than three touchdowns for the fifth-straight contest.
The Knights opened a 41-7 lead in the first half and cruised to the win.
Quarterback Max Brosmer went 18-26 for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Jacob Albright and Blane Mason each had touchdown receptions. Mason accounted for 110 receiving yards, followed by Julian Nixon’s 105.
“I couldn’t ask for better outside receivers than Nixon and Mason,” Perry said.
Nixon also scored a rushing touchdown with Cal Dickie accounting for two scores.
“[Dickie] can play any position, he is a tremendous athlete and the maybe the quickest kid I’ve ever coached.”
Perry gave the credit for his team’s stout defensive performance to his assistant coaches, Tyler Perry, Sebastian Rice and Reggie Nixon.
“Those guys have worked their tails off,” Perry said. “They never get enough credit and my hat’s off to them. Our defense was on fire last night.”
It was an all-around win with Perry stating Centennial also won the kicking game. Nicky Solomon was 6-6 on PATs and 2-3 on field goals.
“We are definitely riding a wave of momentum,” he said. “I’m so proud of the senior leadership on this team. They’ve done everything we’ve asked and more.”
The Knights will look to continue their winning ways next Friday against Region 5 champions Mays (10-1).
“We know Mays is a tremendous team with athletes everywhere,” Perry said. “We’re going to really have to take care of the football and get some turnovers on defense, but we’re up for the challenge.”