Balanced, Unstoppable Centennial Goes Back-To-Back

Dating back to their Zero Week win over Casteel, the 2018 Centennial Coyotes left no doubt from the opening kickoff. Saturday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium was no different as the ‘Yotes raced out to a big lead and never looked back, defeating Notre Dame Prep 60-7 for their second-straight 5A State Championship.

Centennial defeated the Saints for the second consecutive year, sticking to the same blueprint from a year ago.

“Very similar offensively, defensively,” head coach Richard Taylor said of their approach to NDP. “We knew that we had to keep the ball away from [Saints star wide receiver/running back] Jake Smith and I think for the most part we did a good job of that. We were on fire…our kids played really well.”

Yeah, you could say that. 

Centennial (14-0) picked off NDP senior quarterback Jake Farrell five times and allowed the Saints (13-1) just 56 rushing yards on 24 carries. Per usual, they won the turnover battle and were perfect in the red zone.

The ‘Yotes moved the ball with ease on the ground (277 yards) and never let the Saints find any sort of rhythm offensively, despite running 65 plays.

CHS was so dominant, they were rarely, if ever tested in 2018.

The taste of victory is sweet and the memories will most certainly last a lifetime.

“I’m a senior, it was my last game,” talented two-way player AJ Jackson said with a smile amidst the midfield celebration. “I wanted to leave everything on the field [and] come off with that gold ball and with the help of my Coyotes, that’s just what we did.” 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.