By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The outcome of a match-up with Knox Central today in the regular-season finale won’t have any impact on Madison Central’s postseason seeding.
Win or lose, the Indians will take on DuPont Manual at home in the opening round of the Class 6A Playoffs.
Still, this game isn’t meaningless.
Not at all.
“I told our (seniors), ‘I don’t think you understand what you’ve done here,’” Madison Central coach Bert Browne said. “We are 5-1 in the district the past two years. We only won one total game (in 2010). And we won zero games the year before that (2009). It’s a massive accomplishment.”
This senior class has accomplished a lot.
They helped rebuild a program that won just one total game during their freshman and sophomore seasons.
Last season, they led the school to its first district title since 2006.
And with a win last week against Clark County, they guaranteed the program its first winning season since 2008.
Central’s senior class will be honored prior to the game.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Richmond.
“We are going to go out to win this game and give us some momentum heading into the playoffs,” Browne said.
The Indians went into last week’s game at Clark County knowing they needed some help to claim a second-straight district title.
They didn’t get it.
Lafayette locked up the title with a win at home over Tates Creek. Still, the Indians finished second in the district, giving them a first-round home playoff game.
Central put on an impressive display against Clark County, scoring 50 points in the first half in the 50-18 win.
In their past four wins, the Indians have averaged almost 46 points a game.
“We’ve had some help from our defense and special teams, but we are clicking on offense,” Browne said.
Senior Dominique Hawkins had four touchdowns (three rushing, one kick return) as Central dominated from the opening kickoff. Senior wide receiver Ken-Jah Bosley had two touchdowns (one receiving, one fumble recovery), but left in the fourth quarter after taking a violent hit.
He is expected to play against Knox Central.
However, another key part of the Central offense will be missing from the lineup in the regular-season finale. Offensive lineman Chris Walters broke his foot in practice this week.
Walters injured his foot prior to the season and missed several games, but was able to return to the lineup.
Dontae Minter, a sophomore, and Tyler Rice, a junior, will take Walters place at guard.
“That’s a devastating blow,” Browne said. “But, we are not going into the game with guys who haven’t played.”
Knox Central and Madison Central also met in last year’s regular-season finale.
The Indians had already locked up the district title and the coaching staff decided not to play Hawkins, who was battling a high-ankle sprain.
Playing on a mud-coated field in Barbourville, the Indians didn’t put up much of a fight and suffered a 26-0 loss. Central had just 164 total yards and was six-of-18 passing.
Jeffery Canady led the way for Knox Central, scoring all four of the game’s touchdowns and finished with 93 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving.
“He kicked out butts,” Browne said of Canady. “Offensively and defensively. He did what he wanted. We owe him.”
Canady has put together a solid senior season, rushing for 1,444 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also has 167 yards receiving and has 23 total touchdowns on the year.
Jonathan Gist also has more than a 1,000 yards rushing so far this year for the Panthers, with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Knox Central is averaging more than 300 yards a game rushing and opened the season with eight-straight wins. The Panthers suffered their first loss last week at home against Russell County, 35-19.
“They get after you,” Browne said. “They are physical. We are going to have to be ready to play.”