It wasn't that long ago that Centralia varsity football coach Jim Newsted was saying that his starting quarterback, John Durant, had some mistakes that needed to get cleared up.
In fact that was just one week ago after the Panthers were defeated at home 28-8 by Palmyra, and what a difference such a small amount of time can make because with a little bit of guidance from the coaching staff Durant came out last Friday and gave quite a different performance.
What that led to against Highland at home in Clarence County Conference competition was quite different, as well, as the signal caller completed 12-of-15 passes for 195 yards and two scores to guide Centralia to an impressive 56-6 win. The Panthers got in the scoreboard in every quarter of this game, but did the most damage inn the first half by putting up 14 points in the initial quarter and 28 in the second prior to posting a touchdown each in the third and fourth.
While Highland did get on the board in the second, it was Durant that led Centralia's 269 yard rushing attack by going for 69 yards and a pair of scores on a dozen carries, Luke Hunter ran the ball seven times for 66 yards and a touchdown and Nick Wheaton added a 59 yard sprint to the endzone. Grafton Litrell also hit paydirt on three carries for 10 yards, Jared Holiman came through with three reception for 36 yards and a score and Wheaton had two catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, as well.
As a team the Panthers defense allowed just 152 rushing yards and 41 passing yards and were led by Gus Stidham with 13 tackles, Trey Brown backed him up by making five tackles and making four tackles a piece were Caden Vanskike, Litrell, Wheaton and AJ Tuggle. Wheaton also had an interception and charting three tackles each were Wesley Redington and Holiman.
On special teams against Highland, 0-4 overall, 0-4 CCC, it was Luke Hunter that went 8-for-8 on extra points and kicked off once for 78 yards while Guy Moran had a 21 yard punt return.
Centralia, 2-2 overall, 2-2 CCC, next plays at Brookfield on Sept. 21 in league action.