WATSON - There was no jaw-clenching suspense for Central High School this week as the Wildcats blitzed Live Oak 41-15 on Friday night.
After wringing out two consecutive overtime wins, the Wildcats made quick work of the Eagles, and in the process claimed a share of the District 4-5A title with Denham Springs.
It’s the fourth straight season the Wildcats have captured either a share of the title or the outright championship.
Central coach Doug Dotson welcomed the lack of drama.
“It was a little easier on my heart than the last two weeks, I can tell you that,” Dotson said. “Live Oak runs a good scheme and plays hard, but regardless of the competition tonight, it was about us. We challenged our team to come out sharp and play mistake-free football. We just haven’t done that a lot this year.”
Junior quarterback Brett Courville was as sharp as it gets, connecting on each of his 11 pass attempts for 174 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Senior running back Zach Evans led the ground attack with 128 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts.
The Wildcats (6-4, 4-1) were eager to close out the regular season with a convincing win, and also improve their standing in the state playoff bracket.
“We’ll have to go on the road and play a tough opponent somewhere,” Dotson said. “We’re a young ball club, but I’m excited about how we’ve matured over the course of the season. This week we’ll just do our best to try to stay sharp and be ready. When you get to the playoffs, you can’t afford to make any mistakes.”
Live Oak (2-8, 0-5) was trying to end its season on a high note, but the Wildcats proved too formidable.
“They’re a very talented team, one of the fastest teams they’ve had in a long time,” Live Oak coach David Dykes said. “Regardless of what the scoreboard says, our defense played better than we’ve played in some of our other games.”
Live Oak was led by senior quarterback Cole Leblanc, who passed for 148 yards, completing 15 of 29 passes with two touchdowns and one interception.
Senior receiver Beau Forrest caught two touchdown passes and set a school record with nine on the season.
Central’s offense took control from the start of the game, scoring on three of its first four possessions to take a commanding 27-0 lead at halftime.
Courville connected with Jake Myer for a 52-yard touchdown on the sixth snap of the game. The Wildcats kept up the pressure on their next possession as Evans reeled off a 28-yard run and Courville found Gary Triplet for a 28-yard touchdown pass.
Live Oak’s defense stepped up to stop the guests on a fourth-and-2 situation, but Central responded with another TD on its next possession.
Central added some variety to its scoring effort midway through the second period as Triplet weaved his way through Live Oak’s defense en route to a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown to give the Wildcats their 27-0 halftime lead.
Evans later reached the end zone on a 94-yard run just before the half, but the play was called back for holding.
Central’s only blemish came with nine penalties for 87 yards.