2A Football: Tigers Win Big in Home Opener
BACK TO BASICS: Pineda Runs for 181 Yards, Centralia Beats Mark Morris 26-6
By Aaron VanTuyl
What a difference a week makes.
Eight days after losing their season opener in Longview, the Tigers piled up 334 yards of offense and shut down Mark Morris in a 26-6 nonleague win in Centralia on Friday night.
The difference? A bit of film to study and shortening the playbook.
“We really went back to basics and just drilled the real basic things,” Centralia coach Jeremy Thibault said. “We didn’t open up the playbook that much tonight, because, obviously, there was some things that weren’t successful.”
There was plenty of success on the turf for the Tigers. Jose Pineda ran 17 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense gave up just 46 yards on the ground.
“We were able to scout this week, and that’s kind of our strength,” Thibault said. “What we do on the weekends kind of dictates what our defense does. Our Week 1 will always be tough for us, so from now on, through the rest of the season, everything will be statistically based, so we won’t be just trying to grab bag, basically.”
The Tigers struck first in the first quarter, covering 39 yards on five plays before quarterback Kolby Baird darted up the right side, paused to dodge a tackler at the goal line, and walked in for a 13-yard touchdown.
Baird struck again in the second quarter, dropping back and lofting a long pass to Mason Titus, who hauled it in and scored on the 46-yard completion just 15 seconds before halftime.
“We followed through with the little things. We executed,” Baird said. “Unlike last week, when we had all those fumbles — and we had a few fumbles, and nicks and things today, but we executed and played hard all game.”
The only reminder of the Tigers’ Week 1 loss came midway through the third quarter, when the snap on a punt was low and the ball was eventually fumbled away. Two plays later, though, Baird intercepted a pass to regain possession, but the Tigers lost another fumble two plays later.
On their next possession, though, Pineda snagged a quick pitch and headed up the right side, getting around the corner and outrunning the defense for a 67-yard touchdown.
“He’s electric,” Thibault said. “They obviously were crashing the gaps, so we just went outside, and he had a ton of success.”
Pineda did the honors again in the fourth, after the Monarchs had scored their lone touchdown — on a 24-yard pass from Dawson Fritz to Collin Whittaker. The senior capped a 52-yard drive with an 8-yard dash up the left side for the game’s final score.
Jerad Frias added 69 rushing yards on 10 carries for the Tigers, and Tristan Dickey added a first-quarter interception.
“Every week we’re getting better,” Baird added. “We’re working on it, but it’s a big step from last week.”
Note: Centralia plays at Sequim in a nonleague game on Friday. … Thibault said the team expects to get a have a handful of players become eligible next week, including three that could move directly into the starting lineup. … Noah Mejia led Mark Morris with 14 carries for 27 yards, and Fritz completed 8 of 13 passes for 70 yards.
TIGERS 26, MONARCH 6
Mark Morris 0 0 0 6 —6
Centralia 7 6 6 7 —26
CEN — Kolby Baird 13-yard run; Baird kick
CEN — Baird 46-yard pass to Mason Titus; kick failed
CEN — Jose Pineda 67-yard run; run failed
MM — Dawson Fritz 24-yard pass to Collin Whittaker; run failed
CEN — Pineda 8-yard run; Ryan Jensen kick
Team Stats MM CEN
First Downs 6 9
Rushing Yards 46 288
Passing Yards 70 46
Total Yards 116 334
Comp-Att-Int 8-13-2 1-5-0
Fumbles/Lost 1/1 4/3
Penalties/Yards 4/35 6/40
Rushing: MM — Willie Harris 4/17, Noah Mejia 14/25; CEN — Pineda 17/181, Jerod Frias 10/69
Passing: MM — Dawson Fritz 8-13/70; CEN — Kolby Baird 1-5/46
Receiving: MM — Collin Whittaker 3/37; CEN — Titus 1/46