The Central High ground game chewed up plenty of yards Friday night, but none mattered more than the first 68.
Central pounded out five running plays _ four of which gained 10 yards or more _ to score on its first possession for a 7-6 victory over Crystal River in a Gulf Coast Conference game.
"It looked awful easy early on, didn't it?" said Central coach Barry Gardner, whose team rushed for 207 yards in the first half and finished with 255. "But then they did a good job of stopping us and we had some penalties that killed a couple drives."
Ultimately, though, two miscues in the Pirates' kicking game allowed the solitary score _ a 30-yard run by Elliot Coon _ to stand.
Just before halftime, the Pirates (5-3) converted two third-down plays to sustain a 63-yard drive that culminated in a 24-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Rucker from Brian Rowe, who started for the second game in place of injured Ryan Reynolds. But Joe Buccheri's point-after attempt was wide to the left, leaving Central (4-4) with a 7-6 margin.
On the Pirates' opening drive of the second half, Jimmy DeVaughn's 17-yard run gave Crystal River first-and-goal at the 7-yard-line, but after three rushing plays netted only 1 yard, Buccheri was sent in for a 23-yard field goal attempt. It struck the left upright squarely and bounced out.
On its next possession, Crystal River took over at the Central 43, but failed to make a first down after a first-down pass gained 9 yards. The Pirates did not reach Bears territory the rest of the game.
Central's rushing game, meanwhile, continued to eat up the clock. Tellis Roundtree led all rushers with 100 yards, Coon had 63, Marc Munford 53 and Don Lupichuk 35.