Central was making a last-ditch effort to get back in the game Friday when running back Xavier Lewis had the ball knocked loose just short of the Scotlandville goal line.
Making his third fumble recovery of the night, Kaleb Carter raced 95 yards for a Scotlandville touchdown, providing a fitting exclamation point to a 22-10 win in which the Hornets took advantage of five Central turnovers.
The victory helped Scotlandville (3-2) rebound from a lopsided loss to Zachary in its District 4-5A opener, while Central (2-3) suffered its third straight loss en route to an 0-1 start in league play.
“What I’m learning about this bunch is there’s no die in them, and they won’t quit. They will claw and fight and scratch until the last second,” Central coach Sid Edwards said. “We just have to put ourselves in a position early in games where we don’t have to.”
The Wildcats’ third straight loss came on a night when Central, with six straight district titles, had a nine-game district winning streak snapped.
Scotlandville was flagged 14 times for 124 yards but recovered three Central fumbles inside the Hornets’ 10-yard line. The Hornets also benefited from an errant snap in the first quarter that resulted in a Central safety.
Running back Delmas Holmes had 194 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries as Scotlandville dominated time of possession.
“We still had a lot of mistakes, but you get a few more drives put together when you’ve got 11 kids moving in the same direction,” Scotlandville coach Eric Randall said. “Last week, we just didn’t have that.”
Scotlandville dominated the first half, gaining 213 yards on 35 plays and holding Central to 28 yards on just 18 plays. But it was still just 9-0 going to halftime.
Central appeared to have gotten itself back in the game when, on the opening possession of the second half, James Schopp found Terrell Chatman for a 33-yard gain on a receiver-to-receiver double pass. The Wildcats were set up with first-and-goal at the 1 a few plays later, but Carter pounced on a fumble at the goal line by Tyler Sansone on a QB sneak.
More hurt came four plays later when the Wildcats were called for running into the punter, resulting in a 5-yard penalty and giving the Hornets a new set of downs.
“When that happened, it turned the whole game around,” Carter said of denying Central a score early in the third quarter. “It put us back on our feet.”
Scotlandville seemed to have clinched the victory when Holmes raced 63 yards for a 16-0 lead late in the fourth.
But an errant snap on a punt attempt went out of the end zone for a safety, making it 16-2 with 3:51 left. Central then marched all the way inside the 5 before Carter scooped the Lewis fumble and went the distance with 2:30 left.
That made it 22-2, with an 80-yard kickoff return by Kris Davis (and a successful two-point conversion) bringing Central within the final margin.