By Hailey Choi
The line at the ticketing booth was the longest it has been all season on the surprisingly warm September night. The parking lot was jam-packed, full of students, parents, recent grads, and old alumni. It was not only the event of night, but the week. The annual Central-Centennial football game full of same town rivalry was just minutes away from kickoff.
Many anticipated for it to be a close game for both schools. The Centennial Chargers were hoping to recover from the big lost the past week against Normal West (48-7) and the Central Maroons were still looking for their first win of the season. But when Central’s RB/LB Jalen Booker scored a touchdown by interception in the first few minutes of the game, the momentum began to shift.
By the end of the 1st half, Central was already up 21 points while Centennial was yet to score or even make an impactful offensive play. Central’s offense continued getting through Centennial’s defense while the Chargers offense struggled to make plays against the Maroons aggressive defense.
Centennial’s first major offensive play was made with a little less than 5 minutes left in the game, with a touchdown followed by a failed 2 point conversion attempt, but it was not enough to overcome the 29 point lead held by the Maroons. The Central Maroons won the game 42-6, getting their first win of the season against their biggest cross-town rival.
Both players and students from both schools had drastically different responses following the game. Santiago Rodriguez, the starting sophomore kicker for the Maroons stated that he felt great after the win, and when asked who the most impactful player was, said “the entire Central defense played great, and with Connor (Milton) doing what he does best.”
Central students were also overjoyed by the win and had many thoughts about the game. “It was probably the highlight of the season for the whole school and even though we aren’t the best this year, I’m sure the whole school is proud of the team for pulling out the win”, said Emily Perez, a Central sophomore when asked what the win meant for Central.
Nathan Clark, also a sophomore at Central chimed in and added “Central deserved the win, we wanted to win more that Centennial and this means that we feel more dominant over Centennial and have the bragging rights for the year.”
The Chargers however, had different views about the game. Centennial sophomore Juliann Xu said “Even though the student section was the most lively it’s ever been this season the loss was really disappointing. I feel like the Centennial Players could’ve done a lot better.”
When asked who had the best plays and what the most memorable moment was, Kenny Tran, a sophomore KR/RB/OLB at Centennial said that Jaden Roberts made a big impact and the reverse handoff on the kickoff return was memorable. He hopes that the Chargers will win next week against Peoria Manual at Peoria to snap the 2 game losing streak.
The Chargers are currently 1-3 with 5 games left for the season. The next home game will be on 9/29 against Danville which will also be the Homecoming game. Everyone is encouraged to come out and support the Chargers.