The Centennial Coyotes were a proven contender in Division II year in and year out.
But they were jumping up to the gauntlet that is Division I. They would have to play Hamilton, Mountain Pointe, week in and week out. They couldn’t run with them, right?
The Coyotes sit atop Division I as state champions after beating Desert Ridge 28-6 Friday afternoon. It was a signature Centennial win as the Coyotes rushed for 276 yards behind their “big beauties” as head coach Richard Taylor affectionately calls his offensive line, while holding the Jaguars to just 67.
“We were going to run the ball until we didn’t have to,” Centennial offensive lineman Steven Bailey said. “And when we had to throw, we did it effectively. I feel like our team came out and knew what we were going to do and we did it.”
The Coyotes also won the special teams battle, which included a fake punt conversion where Bozton Sanders picked up 40 yards that led to an Isaac Steele rushing touchdown and put the Coyotes up 21-3.
“Bozton was the one that called it,” Taylor said. “And Bozton said, ‘Coach, I won’t call it unless I can make it because I know if I don’t make it, that’s how head coaches get fired.’”
While it may be a new division, having the experience of making deep playoff runs helped the experienced Coyote crew.
“We’ve done this before,” Centennial quarterback and defensive back Isaac Steele said. “(We’re) really experienced and my coach always told me, ‘Hey keep your cool, be calm, be collected and keep that poise that you’ve always had”. And that’s what I did today.”
So the Coyotes made plays, made memories and made statements with their state championship win.