Usually when two rivals meet, the underdog, no matter the disparity in talent and physical ability, comes out motivated and at least keeps the game competitive.
That wasn’t the case Friday night at Traz Powell Stadium.
Central started fast, ran the football all over the Northwestern defense and never looked back, continuing its dominance over the Bulls in a 56-21 rout.
Including playoffs, Central (7-1, 3-0 District 16-6A) has now beaten Northwestern (4-3, 1-2) in nine consecutive meetings. The last time the Bulls defeated the Rockets was in the 2009 regular season when Teddy Bridgewater was the quarterback.
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Cedric Miller ran for 206 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries to lead a Rockets rushing attack that totaled 301 yards.
“It was really effective because the O-line did what it had to do and I did what I had to do,” said Miller, who transferred to Central this season from Norland and as a senior is currently only receiving recruiting interest from Utah.
Central coach Roland Smith agreed that the Rockets won the battle in the trenches.
“It starts up front with the offensive line. They did a tremendous job creating the holes,” said Smith, who spent six years as head coach at Northwestern, including one where he won a state title. “[Miller] did a tremendous job of reading the lanes.”
Along with Miller, Anthony Jones took three of his four carries to the end zone. He finished with 59 rushing yards.
The night for the heated rivals began with the two teams having to be separated in the pregame after taunting among each other.
After just over 10 minutes of play, Central led 28-0.
Prized recruit Da’Vante Phillips scored first on a 25-yard jump ball against man coverage in the end zone a minute and a half into the game.
A minute later, Olin Cushion III intercepted Northwestern freshman quarterback Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.
Miller and Jones then ran in their first touchdowns.
Central can wrap up district play unbeaten with a win against Carol City next week. Northwestern will travel to Belle Glade to face Glades Central before playing its district finale against Homestead.
The Bulls need a win against the Broncos along with a Carol City loss versus Central and win against Norland on Oct. 30 to force a three-team tiebreaker for District 16-6A runner-up playoff spot.