PEORIA — Centennial Coyotes fans got their first Glimpse at a talented, young quarterback on Friday night at Coyotes Field.
Sophomore QB Austin Glimpse subbed in for injured senior Josh Gasca to spark Centennial to 21 unanswered points, tossing two TD passes and erasing an 11-point Pinnacle lead in the Coyotes’ 31-21 victory in the region opener for both squads.
“For a sophomore coming into that situation, I’m just really proud of him,” Centennial Head Coach Richard Taylor said of his signal caller. “He kept his cool through the whole second half.”
Glimpse, who threw TD passes of 9 and 60 yards in relief, made an instant connection with senior Rashon Adams, who hauled in three receiving TDs on the night to fuel the Coyotes’ comeback.
“I was a little nervous at first,” admitted Glimpse, who won the junior varsity game the previous night. “But once I threw that first touchdown, things slowed down for me and I went back to basics. My O-line was amazing, giving me the time to make good reads down the field.”
Playmaker Adams (6 catches, 95 yards, 3 TD) was all smiles after the win on his Senior Night.
“Austin stepped up big and played really well,” the receiver/defensive back said. “We had a tough loss in Week 1 but since then we’ve gotten better each week.”
Friday’s tilt saw the Coyotes take a 3-0 lead on a 22-yard field goal by Brysen Gardner. But touchdowns by Pinnacle’s Anthony Franklin and Dorian Singer put the Pioneers up 14-3 midway through the second quarter.
Needing a touchdown badly, the Coyotes moved the ball downfield with key catches by Andrew Lopez and Marzion Cosby. That led to Gasca connecting with Adams from 5 yards out:
Centennial responds with a 5-yard passing TD from Josh Gasca to Rashon Adams. Gardner PAT good.@GoBigBlue_PHS 14@Cehsfootball 10— Matt Loeschman (@MattLoeschman) October 24, 2020
4:01 - 2nd Quarter @AZPreps365 #azhs @AzNewsmedia #WestValleyPreps pic.twitter.com/uVRowKFw1f
Gardner hit the PAT to bring Centennial within 14-10 at the 4:01 mark before halftime.
The Coyote defense forced a three-and-out and the offense looked to possibly take a halftime lead. Instead, a fake punt incompletion on fourth and long inside their own 30 blew up in Centennial’s face.
A shocked Pinnacle offense accepted the gift, as sophomore QB Devon Dampier connected with Singer on a 28-yard TD pass with :35 left before the break. Max Miller added the PAT and Pinnacle led 21-10 at halftime.
“I just think our defense knew they had to turn things around,” Taylor said. “We told them at halftime that they couldn’t allow any more points if we were going to win this game. They responded big time.”
Late in the second quarter, Gasca left the game after being sacked. Glimpse knew he was getting the call for the final two stanzas.
On the Coyotes’ second series of the third quarter, the Coyotes’ O-line started clearing pathways for running backs Dax Lindholm and Kavaughn Clark (9 rushes, 105 yards). Facing a third and short at the Pinnacle 9, Glimpse found his new favorite target on a slant pattern for 6:
“Rashon was making me look really good,” Glimpse said. “Some of those balls — he just went up and got them. We wanted to test their secondary and take advantage of it where we could.”
Down 21-17, DJ Gleash and Coyote defense fed off that energy and forced another three-and-out.
Glimpse (4-for-5, 79 yards, 2 TD, O INT) wasted no time, showing off a cannon arm and hooking up with Adams on a 60-yard bomb to give Centennial the lead. Gardner banged through the PAT to make it 24-21 Coyotes with 2:57 left in the third.
“I’m just trying to help my team,” Adams explained. “It’s all about the team. I’m going to do whatever I can to help us win.”
It was up to the Centennial D to deliver the final shot. Pinnacle drove to the Coyotes’ 32 yard line, but the Pioneers’ 4th and 7 was incomplete and Centennial had another big defensive stand.
Centennial’s seemingly endless stable of talented running backs put the finishing touches on the victory. Junior James Scott capped the scoring with 7:04 left in the contest with a 5-yard TD run:
The Coyote defense wasn’t done, as they added another fourth-down stop and an Adams interception to close the contest.
Taylor agreed that his squad appears to be getting better with each passing week.
“We are progressing along nicely,” he said. “Without being able to do the normal spring and summer stuff, the kids are learning on the fly.”
The win moves the Coyotes to 3-1 overall, 1-0 in region play this season. Pinnacle fell to 1-2, 0-1.
Next week, state #1 Chandler comes to Coyote Country to offer Centennial another huge test.
“We just need to prepare well and be on point for that game,” Adams said. “We need to defend our turf like we did today.”