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Central High School


Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 05:56 PM

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Last week, Central probably couldn't have spiraled any lower. A humbling 33-14 home loss to Weeki Wachee, playing its first varsity game, can have that effect.

Dressing only 22 players Friday night due to injuries and disciplinary reasons, and watching starting quarterback Cody Brooks leave on a stretcher surely didn't help the mood.

So heading into the fourth quarter down 17-6 at Wildwood, it looked like just another rugged performance for the Bears.

But something entirely different occurred: a spirited comeback resulting in 22 unanswered points and a 28-17 victory.

It's the first time Central has won a game on the field, and not via a forfeit, since Oct. 29, 2010 when it defeated Lecanto.

In between, the Bears trudged off the field feeling the sting of losing 13 straight times, though a loss to Land O' Lakes last year was later overturned due to an ineligible player.

Afterward, an admittedly flustered Central head coach Mike Einspahr talked about the range of emotions his squad experienced over the past week.

"For these kids to come out, they never gave up tonight," Einspahr said. "These kids have never won a varsity game before.

"Our defense just stepped up. They (Wildwood) didn't have very many yards. Our defense gave our offense a chance to run some plays."

The Bears (1-1) initially led the host Wildcats (0-2), 6-0, thanks to a blocked punt retrieved by Quadavis Battle for a touchdown.

Early on, though, the sophomore Brooks was kneed in the head while covering up an errant snap and blacked out.

He was taken to a local hospital, and Einspahr said Brooks' mother, through text message, informed him that tests were negative.

That left junior Cole Teater to take over under center.

Wildwood eventually built a 10-6 halftime edge, featuring a touchdown on a punt return, and added an interception returned for a touchdown to make it 17-6 late in the third quarter.

In the fourth, Central fired back with two lengthy scoring drives, the first one ending with as short trot to the end zone by James Reynolds. Teater ran in the two-point conversion.

The Bears' next possession concluded with Drevon Ferrill running 35 yards on a sweep for the go-ahead touchdown.

Then the defense took control. Shane Murphy's sack in the end zone went for a safety.

With 3.7 seconds remaining in the game, Jordan Pregi picked up a fumble and ran it in to finish up the scoring as time expired.

"It gives a little bit of validity to what we've worked on every day for the last two years," said Einspahr, in his third year. "Good plays happen, bad plays happen. Just focus on the play in front of you." (352) 544-5288

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