Chase Harrison-led Centerville High School teams will win a substantial amount of football games over the next three years.
Friday the Elks won their first with the freshman signal caller as a starter.
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Thanks to success on third down and a swarming defense, Centerville extended its dominance over south suburban rival Fairmont with a shocking 17-0 win on senior night at Roush Stadium.
Centerville – winless coming into the game – improves to 1-8 overall and 1-2 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division. Fairmont drops to 6-3 (1-2).
It was the Elks 21st straight victory in the series dating back to a 28-23 Fairmont win in 1997 when both schools were part of the Western Ohio League.
“It’s been a long season and we’ve been grinding away,” Harrison said. “We were waiting for it to pay off and it paid off tonight.”
“We said they were the best 0-8 team in Ohio and now they’re the best 1-8 team,” Fairmont head coach Dave Miller Jr. said. “We did not play up to our standards or expectations. We have to regroup. That’s a life lesson.”
Centerville’s attack – like the rain – was consistent.
The Elks took the game’s opening possession and punched it in on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line when Harrison hit Corey Burnette for the score. The Elks added a 30-yard field goal by Brandon Walters for a 10-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Ryan Keifer ran in from 12 yards out for the final touchdown.
Harrison finished 18 of 25 for 172 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. His most impressive accomplishment was conducting an offense that converted 10 of 16 third-down attempts and held a 31:48-16:06 advantage in time of possession.
“The bottom line is Chase Harrison is a very, very good player,” Centerville coach Brent Ullery said. “He’s not doing anything that we didn’t expect out of him.”
Centerville’s defensive effort was startling.
A week after posting 534 yards and 44 points in a loss to Wayne, Fairmont was stifled.
The Firebirds managed just 102 total yards and four first downs. Fairmont was 0 for 7 on third down and 0 for 3 on fourth.
“They played a great defensive game,” Miller said. “We didn’t execute and that equals a loss.”
Said Ullery: “Our front four on defense and our front five on offense were challenged this week. They came through. Especially on defense. They did a helluva job.”
Fairmont – looking to put together the program’s first back-to-back playoff berths – can accomplish that with a win at Springfield (8-1) next week. Lose and the Firebirds are likely out. Centerville travels to Beavercreek (1-8) for the season finale.
“These are good kids who have never quit,” Ullery said. “They’ve kept working through some adverse times.”
Centerville’s eight losses have come against teams that were 46-17 heading into Friday.
Said Harrison: “Huge win. We gained some confidence back.”
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