ZACHARY — Friday night’s District 4-5A opener between Central High and Zachary began like a track meet, but it was the Wildcats who ran away with a win.
Central (5-1, 1-0) rang up 24 first quarter points and found an answer to every Zachary rally en route to a 45-28 win.
Senior quarterback Brett Courville directed the Central attack flawlessly at times, and led the team with 123 yards rushing and a touchdown. He also threw for 232 yards and another score.
“What a first quarter offensively. We were as good as you could be,” Central coach Sid Edwards said. “Defensively, I thought we got in a groove, and settled down and started making plays.”
Zachary (4-1, 0-1) kept pace with the Central offense outgaining it 464 yards to 440, but the Broncos were done in by two costly second half turnovers.
Boston Scott paced the Broncos on the ground with 136 yards rushing and a score. Quarterback Trey Hills was 18-for-27 for 264 yards and a touchdown.
Zachary trailed 24-14 early in the third quarter, when the Broncos drove 55 yards to a first at the CHS 12. But Scott fumbled on the next play, and Central’s Paul Broussard it 87 yards for the score.
Late in the third, Zachary moved inside the CHS 35, but Broussard came up big again. Broussard intercepted Hills’ well-thrown pass for Kentrell Fisher at the ZHS 3, and another threat was ended.
“Any time you play a well-coached team, when opportunities arise, they’ll take advantage,” Zachary coach Neil Weiner said. “Early on, we gave (Central) some easy completions with some busted coverages, so we’ve got to do a better job as coaches preparing them.”
Edwards pointed to Broussard’s fumble return as the game’s biggest play.
“In a game of big plays, that was the play of the game,” Edwards said. “At halftime, I was anticipating a shootout. They’re so good on offense, and we’re pretty good, too, but if you had to point to a play, that was it.”
In the first quarter, Central ran off 22 plays to Zachary’s nine and built a 24-14 lead heading into the second. The offenses ran out of steam but ended the half having combined for more than 500 yards of offense.
Central took the opening kickoff and moved 73 yards in six plays for the first touchdown. Courville’s completions of 17 and 28 yards to Jake Myer keyed the drive, and Devon Gales finished it off with a 4-yard run.
After a Zachary three-and-out, Central took over at midfield where Courville faked an inside handoff and ran 52 yards for a score.
Central led 14-0 less than four minutes into the game, but Zachary answered on the next play from scrimmage. Donald Gage took a short swing pass 64 yards up the right sideline for a TD.
Central responded with an 8-play, 62-yard drive that was sparked by Myers’ 33-yard reception. Lamontae Juneau capped it with an 8-yard run.
Zachary got within 21-14 on another big play. After moving to midfield, Zachary got a boost when Boston Scott took an inside handoff and bounced to the left sideline to complete a 48-yard scoring run.
Central’s Greg Noel finished off scoring in the first quarter with a 35-yard field goal. His kick with five seconds left pushed the Wildcat lead to 24-14.