Lawrence Central’s aerial attack gave Center Grove some problems in the early going Friday night.
Corbin Laque returned the favor.
The Trojans senior intercepted a pair of passes, including a game-clinching pick-six late in the fourth quarter, as Center Grove topped the visiting Bears 35-21 for a Homecoming weekend victory.
Center Grove (5-1, 4-1 Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference) has won five consecutive games since a season-opening loss to Warren Central.
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“The first quarter, I have no idea what team that was out there in red,” Trojans head coach Eric Moore said, “but the second quarter we came alive, and in the third quarter we played Trojan football.”
After softening up the Center Grove defense with a few short passes, Lawrence Central (4-2, 2-2) went deep for the game’s first score, a 63-yard throw from Lashon Bright to Daveon Bell with 2:03 left in the first quarter.
The Trojans responded with a deep ball of their own, tying the score when Jack Kellams went over the top of the defense and found Trevor Hohlt for a 40-yard score early in the second period.
In response, the Bears put together a methodical 15-play, 93-yard drive, pulling back ahead on a 3-yard toss from Donyell Merideth to Spencer Youngcourt with 4:53 to go in the half.
Lawrence Central’s third pass of the second half found Laque, who returned the ball to the Bears’ 23-yard line. Three plays later, Hohlt — who Moore called “the hidden ace” after the game — found an opening on the right and trotted in for a 16-yard touchdown. That tied the game at 14-14 with 8:46 left in the third quarter.
“When we went in for halftime, we made a lot of adjustments and fixed up some blocking techniques,” Hohlt said. “When we did that, we opened up some holes and made some big plays.”
Riding that momentum shift, the Trojan defense made a couple of quick stops, and the offense cashed in on both. McCoy gave Center Grove its first lead at the 4:19 mark of the third with an 18-yard touchdown run, and he added a 5-yard scoring plunge on the second play of the fourth period to make it 28-14.
Lawrence Central cut the deficit in half on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Merideth to Bell and got the ball back on its own 10 with 1:52 to play, but Laque stepped in front of Merideth’s first-down pass and took it 24 yards to the end zone for the clincher.
“It was awesome,” Laque said of his touchdown. “I haven’t done that in a really long time.”
Brett Boswell intercepted another Merideth pass in the end zone on the final play.
McCoy rushed for 69 yards on 19 carries for the Trojans, while Russ Yeast added 63 yards rushing and Hohlt finished with 54. Kellams was 7 of 11 passing for 93 yards.