By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
On the first drive of the second half, Madison Central’s offense marched down the field in impressive fashion.
Seven plays and 69 yards later, Johan Williams scored on a 5-yard touchdown run that slashed Tates Creek’s lead to just two points (22-20).
But, the momentum slipped away just moments later.
Martavius Carter returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.
The Commodores (5-3) added three more second-half touchdown and went on to pick up a 51-32 win in the district opener for both teams.
“We just kill ourselves,” Madison Central coach Bert Browne said. “We shoot ourselves in the foot, constantly. It’s a constant. That’s part of having a young football team. It’s unbelievable.”
Williams put together a tremendous performance for Central (1-7). The sophomore running back had 358 total yards — 157 rushing, 201 on kick returns — and scored four touchdowns (three rushing).
The Indians had three turnovers, which led to 14 Tates Creek points.
The loss was the sixth-straight for Central.
Still trailing just 29-20 and with the ball near midfield, the Indians tried a fake punt on fourth-and-three. They fell short and the Commodores put together a six-play, 51-yard drive that was capped by a 12-yard Graham Gordon touchdown pass to Tavon Dunn.
Creek intercepted Central quarterback Zach Hardin two plays later. The Commodores got an 11-yard TD pass from Gordon to Max Sweet less than a minute later to take a 44-20 lead.
Williams scored on a 5-yard run with 8:19 left in the fourth, then got loose on a 90-yard kickoff return for a TD with less than a minute remaining, but by that point the outcome had already been decided.
Williams had 157 yards rushing on 26 carries.
“Johan is a man,” Browne said. “He’s got a chance to really do something (special) on the football field.”
Central forced three turnovers in the first half, but only converted one of those miscues into a touchdown.
Creek marched down the field on its opening drive, picking up two fourth downs. Tyler Conley then came up with an interception inside the Commodore 10-yard line.
Creek then scored on its next three possessions.
The Commodores got a 8-yard TD reception by Austin Rodgers with 21.6 seconds left in the first quarter to go up 7-0.
After Central tied the game on a TD pass from Hardin to Caleb McClurg, the Commodores went 75 yards in eight plays and got a touchdown catch by R.J. Taylor and a two-point conversion to take a 15-7 lead.
Central’s Korrion Crier fumbled near midfield moments later and the Commodores quickly took advantage. It took them just four plays to score, with Dunn catching a 5-yard TD pass.
“I’ve never had a football team this young,” Browne said. “It’s frustrating.”
The Indians battled back and got a pair of turnovers in the closing minutes of the half that helped them get back in the game. Central recovered a fumble after Creek mishandled a punt and Johan Williams scored five plays later from 1 yard out to cut the Commodore lead to 22-14.
Brandon Norhington came up with an interception in the final seconds as well.
Creek had 379 yards of offense, 278 of which came through the air. The Commodores were also 6-of-12 on third downs and 3-for-3 on fourth downs.
Hardin was 11-of-16 for 137 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Sam Jones had five catches for 82 yards and John Williams had two catches for 26 yards.
Crier had 48 yards rushing on eight carries.
Central is set to return to action Friday at home against district rival Lafayette.