Central Catholic running back Cedric Gray (7) attempts to get by Bedford’s Thomas Ferry. Gray finished with 80 yards on 16 carries.
TEMPERANCE — Already 0-1 for the first time since 2000, Central Catholic took some time to get rolling Friday night in a North-of-the-Border football matchup at Bedford.
But, when the Fighting Irish did hit stride on a sweltering night, the host Kicking Mules had no answer in a 35-0 Central victory.
The Irish (1-1), who got their five touchdowns from five different players, dominated the Mules (1-1) in total offense, 373-181. It was the first meeting between the schools since 1991, when Bedford won 7-0. This one ended on a sour note for Mules head coach Jeff Wood, a Central graduate and former Irish player.
“I have to give credit to our defensive staff led by [coordinator] Nick Toth,” Central coach Greg Dempsey said of his team’s shutout of Bedford, which had not been blanked since losing to Adrian 34-0 in September, 2007. “He studied [Bedford’s veer option] offense in the offseason, and the kids did a great job of executing. They really stayed home on their keys.”
Offensively, running back Amir Edwards topped Central’s 276-yard rushing attack with 133 yards on 11 carries. Sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer was 6-of-11 passing for 97 yards and ran for Central’s first TD.
“It was the [offensive] line,” Edwards said. “I’ve got to give it to the big men up front. They did a great job. It feels good to bounce back from losing. We came out and played hard all night.”
After a scoreless first quarter that ended with Central driving deep into Bedford territory, the Irish opened the second quarter facing a fourth-and-5 at the Mules’ 14.
Central Catholic’s Jon Perrin, left, celebrates with teammates Ian Butler (34) and Levi Pickerel (52) after sacking Bedford quarterback Aaron Czesak in Friday night’s game. Czesak rushed for just 25 yards.
The first of Jake Suder’s five point-after kicks put the Irish up 7-0 just 10 seconds into the second period.
“That was a huge play,” Dempsey said of Kizer’s TD. “That was sign of his maturity. He didn’t throw it up for grabs in the end zone on fourth down.
“He saw the alley [to run] and he took it.”
Central’s second score capped an eight-play, 62-yard drive, with junior back Cedric Gray (16 carries, 80 yards) running 11 yards for a TD 3:07 before halftime.
The first two times Central touched the ball after halftime resulted in TDs.
Edwards broke through the line, cleared the secondary and dashed 70 yards for a TD and a 21-0 lead with 8:16 left in the third quarter.
If that play didn’t deflate the Mules, the one that occurred the next time Central touched the ball probably did.
DeShone Kizer races into the end zone for Central Catholic’s first touchdown of the night on a 19-yard run in the second quarter.
Central’s Derick Weiland fielded Czesak’s punt and streaked upfield 80 yards for another TD, giving Central a 28-0 lead with 3:50 left in the third.
“Amir broke that long touchdown run, and that gave us some big momentum,” Weiland said. “Then, I got that punt return and cut back and took it back [for a touchdown], and it was 28-0 right off the bat. I think [Bedford] started giving up.”
Bedford’s third-quarter misfortune continued through the end of the period.
The Mules had driven 73 yards on eight plays and faced a fourth-and-goal at the Central 1 when Czesak (17 carries, 25 yards) fumbled the snap and running back Jon Shepherd was downed for a four-yard loss.
“We fumbled three snaps tonight, and that can’t happen,” Wood said. “We hardly fumbled a snap in three years, and we fumbled three tonight. We need to make sure we take care of business and get better.
Central Catholic’s Charles Hagler, right, puts a hard hit on Bedford’s Jonathan Prajzner, who led the Mules with 39 yards on 13 carries.
Central added its final TD on a 35-yard run around left end by backup QB Ryan Roberts with 3:15 left in the game.
Jon Prajzner led Bedford in rushing with 13 carries for 39 yards. The Mules totaled just 95 yards on 45 rushes, and Czesak was 2-for-6 passing for 86 yards.
Contact Steve Junga at: email@example.com or 419-724-6461.