Falcons soar past Demons 42-6 to advance to Class 1A state championship game

Centauri High School’s Baron Holman hauls in and runs for a 22-yard touchdown reception in the Falcons’ 42-6 win over Buena Vista Saturday at the CHS field. Centauri will face Limon for the Class 1A state championship this coming Saturday at the CSU-Pueblo Thunderbowl. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. (photo by Ken Hamrick)

LA JARA – The second-seeded Centauri High School football team had a formidable foe waiting for it when the Falcons hosted third-seeded Buena Vista Saturday at the CHS field.

But the Falcons stuck to their strategy of scoring early and often as they easily defeated the Demons 42-6 in the Class 1A state semifinal round.

“It gives us confidence and gives them a little bit of doubt,” said Centauri coach Kyle Forster.

Buena Vista had the ball first and it showed why it had such a touted offense as it drove deep into Centauri territory. But the Demons got as far as the Falcons’ 31 before they turned the ball over on downs.

It didn’t take long for Centauri to get on the scoreboard as senior Mason Claunch broke through the line and ran 53 yards down the left side of the field for the touchdown. Sophomore kicker Kaleb Anderson made the extra point and the Falcons led 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

Buena Vista looked to tie the score as it again drove onto the Centauri side of the field. The Demons got as far as the Falcons’ 15 before senior Baron Holman intercepted junior Haden Camp’s pass on the first play of the second quarter.

Centauri increased the lead just six plays later as senior quarterback Byron Shawcroft found senior Peyton Polzin for a 60-yard touchdown. Anderson again made the point-after for a 14-0 advantage.

Buena Vista got another turnover on Buena Vista’s next possession as sophomore Devne Brady intercepted Camp. However, the Falcons punted the ball away.

Buena Vista turned the ball over on downs again on their next possession deep inside its own territory. The Falcons took advantage as Shawcroft scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Anderson’s extra-point attempt was good and Centauri led 21-0 at the half.

The Falcons had the ball first in the second half and they struck again with Claunch scoring on a 28-yard touchdown run. The point-after was good again and Centauri led 28-0.

Centauri scored two more times later in the third quarter. First Deven Brady found the end zone on a 2-yard run, and then Shawcroft tossed a 22-yard scoring strike to Holman. Anderson’s point-after attempts on both touchdowns were successful and the Falcons led 42-0.

Buena Vista avoided being shut out as Camp threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to junior Orion Herrle on the last play of the game.

Centauri accumulated 417 yards of total offense – 234 rushing and 183 passing.

Shawcroft completed 10 of 11 pass attempts for all 183 passing yards. Holman was his top receiver with four receptions for 46 yards. Polzin had three receptions for 78 yards and Deven Brady had three catches for 59 yards.

Claunch led the Falcons’ ground game with 160 yards on 15 carries.

Centauri limited Buena Vista to just 221 total yards. Camp completed 17 out of 25 passes for 124 yards with senior Tucker Storms catching eight passes for 74 yards.

The Centauri offense held the Buena Vista running game to just 97 yards. The Demons had been averaging 255 rushing yards per game. Camp, who had averaged more than 100 rushing yards per game was held to just 57.

“We did a good job,” Forster said. “We knew that he was one of their best players and we had to slow him down.  We did a great job at it.”

With the win, Centauri (11-0) advances to the Class 1A state championship game this coming Saturday at the CSU Pueblo Thunderbowl. However, the Falcons will have a tough task ahead of it as it will face top-seeded and defending three-time state champion Limon (12-0). The Badgers advanced to the final by defeating sixth-seeded Wray 42-8 in Wray.

“They’re one of the best teams in the state,” Forster said. “It’s going to be a physical game but if we to what we do and we’re going to go out to win it. So that’s what we’re going to do.”

Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

CENTAURI 42, BUENA VISTA 6

Buena Vista 0 0 0 6 – 6

Centauri 7 14 21 0 – 42

First quarter

C – Claunch 53 run (Anderson kick), 7:13

Second quarter

C – Polzin 60 pass from Shawcroft (Anderson kick), 10:01

C – Shawcroft 1 run (Anderson kick), 4:18

Third quarter

C – Claunch 28 run (Anderson kick), 11:16

C – De. Brady 2 run (Anderson kick), 5:58

C – Holman 22 pass from Shawcroft (Anderson kick), 3:01

Fourth quarter

BV – Herrle 7 pass from Camp, 0:00

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