Taylor-Made Redemption: Centennial Claims 5A Title


Good things come to those who wait.

Nobody knows the fabled saying more than Centennial head coach Richard Taylor and his veteran Coyotes (13-1) who washed away the bad memories of last year’s title game loss to Williams Field by dominating previously unbeaten Notre Dame Prep 42-21 Saturday afternoon at Arizona Stadium to claim the Yotes’ sixth state title, all under Taylor.

Centennial was led by their core group of seniors, specifically running back Zidane Thomas (273 rushing yards, two touchdowns), quarterback Ruben Beltran (216 total yards, three scores), and cornerback/wide receiver Dominique Hampton (receiving touchdown, interception).

The Coyotes raced out to a 21-0 halftime lead and never looked back.

“We did,” Taylor said confirming the improved play Saturday compared to last year’s championship loss in Glendale. “I think that’s the way the seniors feel and however the seniors feel about this game is the way I feel.”

Probably one of the Centennial players feeling the best is Beltran who was close to perfect through the air (10-12), while also using his feet (5 rushes, 51 yards) to pick apart the Saints’ defense with chunk plays as the Coyotes rolled up 540 total yards.

“Coming from last year, learning from what happened,” Beltran said referencing last year’s title loss. “Just watching film, coming out knowing what we’re supposed to do and knowing what they were going to do. It was a good feeling.”

The Saints (13-1) magical season came to a disappointing end as NDP’s offense struggled to sustain drives in the first half.     

Quarterback Kylan Weisser completed just six of 19 throws and was sacked three times. Junior star Jake Smith had an 81-yard touchdown catch but was held in-check most of the game. Senior running back Cole Fisher finished with 72 yards on the ground.