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Colonels win wild shootout against Hendrix in conference opener, 52-42

Colonels win wild shootout against Hendrix in conference opener, 52-42

DANVILLE, Ky. – Centre football opened the Southern Athletic Association slate in style, defeating Hendrix, 52-42, during Saturday's Gold Out Game at Farris Stadium.

The Colonels (3-0, 1-0 SAA) amassed 515 yards on offense – including 277 on the ground – and excelled in special teams while snapping a two-game skid against the Warriors (2-1, 0-1).

HOW IT HAPPENED

The early stages of Saturday's shootout had all the makings of a Centre blowout. Junior Cody Estep (Pikeville, Ky.) wasted little time putting the Colonels on the board, taking the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

On Centre's first offensive possession of the afternoon, senior Devin Hayes (Bowling Green, Ky.) connected with freshman Jordan Gunter (Louisville, Ky.) for a five-yard score.

After Alec Fontaine (Kettering, Ohio) recovered a fumble to give the ball back to the home side, junior Trevor Carnell (Shepherdsville, Ky.) broke off an incredible 79-yard touchdown scamper, making it a three-score game in the blink of an eye.

Staring at a 21-0 deficit, the Warriors' high-powered offense finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown run early in the second quarter.

Despite Hendrix warming up offensively, the Centre special teams stole the show in the second quarter. Estep – who also caught a touchdown pass from Hayes earlier in the period – blocked a Warriors point-after try. Jaxson Hilander (Paris, Ky.) scooped up the block and returned it 98 yards the other way for a two-point score.

Before the half was over the Centre defense would sack Hendrix quarterback Miles Thompson in the endzone for a safety, making it 32-13 at the break.

Hendrix made more noise in the second half, and would even pull as close as six points at 42-36, but in the end the Colonels had all the answers.

The decisive swing came late in the fourth quarter, when junior Ben Logsdon (Louisville, Ky.) snuck in a 27-yard field goal off the crossbar to make it 45-36 with three minutes on the clock.

On the ensuing Hendrix possession, junior Tommy Kaczocha (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) picked off Thompson's pass and returned it 15 yards for a score, effectively ending the Warriors' comeback bid.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

Centre again found success running the ball, finishing with 277 yards on a combined 40 carries (6.9 per rush). Carnell had a touchdown and 161 yards on 15 carries, while junior Colin Burnam (Bowling Green, Ky.) totaled 109 yards and a score on 15 carries.

Hayes finished 19 for 34 for 238 yards and two touchdowns, marking his third consecutive multi-score game.

Senior Andrew Busby (Chattanooga, Tenn.) was all over the field for the Centre defense, totaling 14 tackles (11 solo), three tackles for loss and a pair of forced fumbles.

Fontaine followed with 10 tackles (eight solo), while senior J.D. Dotson (Nashville, Tenn.) had nine and one for a loss.

UP NEXT

Centre travels to face Berry next Saturday. Kickoff from Mount Berry, Ga., is at 6 p.m. ET.