Last year's state champs continued a recent hot stretch, severely damaging David City playoff hopes when Centennial took a 33-14 win over the Scouts in Utica on Friday.
The game was only a 7-6 separation after the first quarter, and David City scored the first points, but Centennial responded with five of the next six touchdowns and dropped the Scouts to 4-4.
The Broncos went a perfect 13-0 in 2018, winning the C-2 title in double overtime. But after the graduation of a talented and deep senior class, Centennial started the year 2-3 with three straight losses after wins in Week 1 and Week 2.
Lately though, the Broncos seem to have found their stride with wins over No. 9 North Bend, No. 10 Shelby-Rising City and Friday over David City.
Meanwhile, the Scouts have lost four of five after staring 3-0. Those results have sent David City tumbling down the C-2 wildcard points standings to 23rd and eliminated the team from challenging for the district title.
Seven district winners plus the next nine highest teams in the points standings will qualify for the 16-team playoff.
David City's most recent loss came against a Centennial squad that used balance to find the win. The Broncos were one yard short of putting up 100 yards more of offense than the Scouts and did it with a mix of 189 yards on the ground and 165 through the air.
Centennial quarterback Cooper Gierhan was a very efficient 9 of 14 through the air with one touchdown and one interception, and carried the ball 13 times for 72 yards and a score. His efforts on the ground were supported by Davon Brees going just over the century mark at 101 yards on 22 carries and two scores.
Caleb Horne caught four of Gierhan's passes for 139 yards and one touchdown - a 78 yard play that stood up as the longest of the game.
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Clayton Denker did all he could for David City, running for 161 yards on 22 carries and scoring both touchdowns, but he was the only effective weapon. Quarterback Dylan Vodicka was 6 for 17 with 75 yards passing and Denker accounted for more than half of that on one catch for 42 yards.
Denker opened the scoring with a first-quarter touchdown but the conversion was stopped and the Scouts led 6-0.
Centennial answered on Horne's 16-yard run and Gierhan's kick for a 7-6 advantage. Horne then caught a 43-yard scoring strike from Gierhan in the second for a 13-6 halftime lead.
The Broncos kept the points rolling with Gierhan's 1-yard plunge capping a drive to start the third quarter and extending the gap to 20-6. Denker brought the Scouts to within 20-14 on a 45-yard run but Brees pushed it back out to a two-score game early in the fourth then rumbled for a 45-yard touchdown to seal it.
"Offensively, we need to do a better job of sustaining our drives in order to keep our defense off the field," David City coach Robert Evans said.
Although the playoffs might be a long shot, David City can finish with a winning record for the first time in eight years if the Scouts can upset No. 9 North Bend on Friday.
North Bend has won back-to-back games since its only loss of the season, a 40-25 setback to Centennial. However, North Bend is also in the running for the district title and can wrap up the automatic bid to the playoffs with a win over David City.
The Scouts have seven teams in front of them for the final playoff spot in the latest points standings. A win over North Bend would dramatically improve their position, but they would also need several other factors to play out, namely, almost all of those teams losing, to have a chance.
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net.