ROSALIA — In a matchup of teams desperate for that first win of the season, the Central-Burden Raiders pulled away in the second half to cruise past Flinthills 54-20 in an Eight Man I-District 1 contest last Friday.
“Being healthy really helped us,” said CHS coach Anthony Blair. “We are finally starting to get some guys back out there. Our mentality has really changed lately. We are having good practices, and the guys are ready to go. So it was nice to come out and put a complete game together and get that win.”
After opening the season with four straight losses, including a 70-44 setback to West Elk in the district opener one week earlier, Central-Burden improved to 1-4 overall and 1-1 in District 1. The Raiders return home on Oct. 11 to entertain Oswego in another key district matchup. The Indians are 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the district following a wild 54-50 victory over West Elk last Friday.
Meanwhile, Flinthills remained winless on the season at 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the district. The Mustangs, who have lost seven straight games dating back to last season, will hit the road on Oct. 11 to take on a Sedan team that is 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the district. The Blue Devils are coming off a 36-28 loss at Cedar Vale/Dexter.
The teams went back and forth in the early stages of the game. Central jumped ahead 6-0 on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Logan Branscum to Lane Toon, but Flinthills responded and got the conversion to take an 8-6 advantage.
Things remained tight the rest of the first half. The Raiders scored on a five-yard run from Tony Brogan and a 17-yard pass play from Branscum to Garrett Toon. The Mustangs got a defensive score on a 70-yard fumble return, but Brogan returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards for a Raider score. Just before halftime, Flinthills was back in the end zone to get back within eight at 28-20 at the intermission.
The second half belonged to Central. The Raiders scored the game’s final 26 points, including an 11-yard TD pass from Branscum to Lane Toon, as well as a one-yard dive into the end zone by Branscum in the third quarter. Leading 40-20 after three quarters, CHS put the game away in the final period on touchdown runs of 11 yards by Zarek Wilson and six yards by Brogan.
Central finished the contest with 301 total yards, doing most of their damage on the ground with 237 yards on 40 carries. Wilson had a game-high 128 yards rushing on 18 carries, while Brogan had 15 rushes for 85 yards.
The Raiders have won the last 11 matchups against the Mustangs by an average margin of 45 points per game.