Photo courtesy of Louis Murray

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For the fourth playoffs in a row, the Catholic Central Cougars had to square off with the Crusaders of Unity Christian. After falling in both 2014 and 2015, the Cougars dominated Unity in last year’s semifinals. This year, the Cougars evened the series with a 32-25 victory at home to advance to the second round of the Division 4 playoffs.

Unity Christian started the scoring in this one as Alec Headley rushed 14 yards for a score to put the Crusaders up 6-0. Tyce VanderGoot rushed for another score for the Crusaders as their defense allowed only a field goal in a 12-3 first quarter lead.

The second quarter was much more kind to Catholic Central offensively as they scored a trio of touchdowns. Jack Bowen opened the scoring with a 44-yard run to bring the Cougars within two. They would yield another touchdown shortly after as VanderGroot found the end zone from 14 yards out. Just three minutes later, Catholic would get back within a point as star running back Nolan Fugate pushed through the ‘Sader defense for a 15 yard run. They would take the lead into halftime as Bowen found Nate Trudeau on a 21 yard touchdown to make the score 25-18 in favor of Catholic Central.

In the second half, the defense came to play, as there were only two total touchdowns scored. Late in the third quarter, Nolan Fugate scored what would be the clinching touchdown as he went 79 yards for the score. Unity’s fourth quarter touchdown by Alec Headley brought them within a touchdown, but they were unable to overcome the seven point deficit. With the win, Catholic Central is one step closer to achieving their goal of a repeat championship. Next week, the district final is on the line as they take on Kelloggsville at home, presumably on Friday night.