ATLANTA — Centennial certainly played the underdog role Friday night against Mays. And though the Knights fell in an electrifying shootout, head coach Michael Perry said his team made a statement against the No. 3 ranked team in the state.
“We were picked to lose by 24 points to one of the best program in 6A,” he said. “But we sent out a big message that Centennial is right there and is a program to be reckoned with.”
Behind another incredible performance, Centennial’s offense put up 41 points against a Raiders defense that had three shutouts and gave up an average of just eight points per game entering Friday night’s matchup. They hadn’t surrendered more than 28 points all season.
Centennial had 28 points in the second quarter.
For the seventh-straight game, the Knights scored over 40 points with quarterback Max Brosmer once again solidifying himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in the state.
Brosmer compiled 350 yards passing with six touchdown passes in the loss. He accumulated over 3,600 yards passing this season with 35 total touchdowns.
“I was so proud of the way Brosmer played,” Perry said. “And he had a lot of talent around him.”
Brosmer hit Blane Mason and Julian Nixon for three scores each Friday night.
In addition to Centennial’s seemingly unstoppable passing game, Perry said Emeka Nwanze had his best game of the season rushing the ball.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the night, with neither team holding a lead of more than one score after late in the first quarter. At the half, the score was tied 28-28.
Both teams continued to pound away with the Knights taking the lead late in the third quarter on a Nixon rushing score. The PAT would be missed with the Knights’ having to replace kicker Nicky Solomon.
Solomon broke his foot during the game and Perry said that was vital for Mays in the second half.
“We had to squib kick to them and that gave them great field position,” he said.
Just after Nixon’s go-ahead touchdown, Mays returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. The PAT gave them a 42-41 lead with a minute remaining in the third.
While their offense had been seemingly unstoppable for three quarters, Mays hunkered down in the fourth to force two turnovers on down and picked off Bromser.
The Knights were held scoreless in the final frame, allowing Mays to escape with the win.
The loss brought the Knights season, and their eight-game win streak, to an end. It also concluded the Centennial careers of key seniors of Mason, Emeka Nwanze, Nick Croawell, Michael Garrison, Jacob Albright and David Gaffney.
“I’m really proud of our senior class,” Perry said. “They did something that hadn’t been done in 15 years in winning a playoff game and they got Centennial back on track. I thank our seniors for all their contributions.”
The seniors led the team to an 8-4 overall record after what was a worrying start to the season with the Knights dropping their opening three games.
“The easy thing at that point would be to throw in the towel,” Perry said. “But this team was so resilient. We improved each week and kept moving forward. That’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
Perry and the Knights are also banking that this season is just the beginning for Centennial’s rise to prominence. They will return standouts Brosmer, Dickie, Nixon, linebacker Max Able, defensive end Jack Barton and a host of other talent next year.
“The future of Centennial is bright,” Perry said. “I’m very optimistic about this football program and the kids we have.”