There was pouring rain. There were gusting winds. That did not stop Central High School football from playing a close, competitive game on Friday, October 11.
Traveling to Nashville to take on Maplewood, the Red Raiders led until the final quarter in a 14-8 loss to the Panthers.
"It went like we thought it'd be. I knew we were gonna have to really stop them on defense. About twice tonight, we didn't set a good edge and they were able to take it all the way," Coach Doug Greene said. "It's just one of those nights you've got to pound it out and fall forward and we just came up just a little short."
Greene added that the weather conditions made it much more difficult to throw the ball. This was not optimal due to the Panthers' size, which made the running game harder to execute.
"They're stronger than we are up front, so we knew we were gonna have to throw the ball enough to keep them off balance. That's where our chunk plays were gonna come," Greene explained. "Running the ball, we were gonna have to stay in between the tackles because we couldn't bounce outside. So conditions were not good for us, but we still could've held them."
As the rain began to fall early on, the Raiders got on the board when Collin Ward brought down the Maplewood quarterback in the end zone for a safety.
Still up 2-0 near the start of the second quarter, Matthew Pittman broke into the end zone for a touchdown with 10:19 on the clock. A missed extra point made it an 8-0 CHS lead, which the boys carried into the locker room at halftime.
The Panthers offense turned it around in the second half. With just under six minutes left in the third quarter, Maplewood punched in a touchdown to get on the board. A failed two-point conversion preserved the Raiders' lead at 8-6.
Later in the fourth quarter, a long Panther drive found them in the CHS red zone. The defense applied pressure, but Maplewood broke into the end zone on fourth down to take the lead. A successful two-point conversion this time made it a 14-8 game with exactly 10 minutes to play.
The Raiders were unable to answer and finished the game down by six.
The team will remain on the road next Friday, October 18, to take on Warren County in McMinnville. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.