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Bears' late comeback enough for win

Central overcomes a 14-point deficit with 7 minutes left in the game to beat Springstead 18-17.

By DAVID MURPHY
Published October 14, 2006


BROOKSVILLE - The game clock on the scoreboard at the south end zone read 7 minutes, 35 seconds, which is the official time that doubt began to creep in.

Central head coach Cliff Lohrey will assure everyone that he still had faith, as will running back DuJuan Harris and quarterback Chase Walker.

But as Central wide receiver Chad Walker looked at the scoreboard and saw the 17-3 fourth-quarter deficit his team faced, the sinking feeling of defeat began filtering into his stomach.

"Honestly," the junior said later, "I thought it was over."

But it wasn't over.

In one of the more improbable comebacks of the year, Central overcame a 14-point deficit with slightly more than 7 minutes remaining, scoring two touchdowns and a gutsy two-point conversion to beat Springstead 18-17 and clinch its first district title since 2001.

"It's the most amazing feeling in the world," said Walker, who caught two touchdown passes in the comeback. "Nobody can take this away from us."

Springstead tried, and it tried hard. The Eagles had been planning for their game against Central since the summer, and thus executed to perfection a no-huddle, spread formation attack designed to keep the Bears' defense off-guard and the Bears' offense off the field.

Quarterback John Hogeland was on point, completing 6 of 7 passes for 77 yards on a second-quarter drive that culminated in a 29-yard catch-and-run by Mike Grecco and gave the Eagles a 7-3 halftime lead. Hogeland later scored on a 1-yard run to make the score 17-3.

But then Chase Walker lead Central on a nine-play, 57-yard drive, capping it off with an 11-yard pass to his brother, Chad, making the score 17-10.

After regaining the ball with 1:24 remaining, Central nailed two big plays - a 22-yard pass and a 32-yard hook-and-ladder - setting up a Chase Walker 14-yard touchdown pass to his brother again.

After an offside call, Central decided to go for the two-point conversion and the win. Chase Walker faked to Harris, then ran into the end zone himself to clinch the game and the Class 4A, District 8 title.