In the first half Friday night, it appeared the only kind of luck Palmyra would have would be bad luck.
Twice in the first half, Palmyra stalled out inside the redzone after being set up with good field position. Caleb Kizer ran the opening kick back 49 yards and Palmyra moved the ball to the Centralia 19 before the drive stalled out. In the second quarter, Aaron Foreman blocked a Centralia punt, setting Palmyra up at the Centralia 46 while Palmyra was behind 8-6.
Palmyra came up inches short on the ensuing drive after quarterback Brock Butler was stopped on fourth down inside the Centralia 10. Centralia followed that with a 95-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 41-yard run by Zach Etzler, to go ahead 14-6 with 1 minute, 37 seconds left before the half.
“A little bit, you always are,” said Miles about Palmyra’s misfortune. “Any time you get into the red zone against a team like Centralia twice and you don’t get in (it’s tough). …I told Brock ‘We have to finish drives. We have to finish drives.’ We kept plugging away and plugging away and our line kept working hard.”
Palmyra’s fortunes turned after that touchdown. Palmyra responded with 18 unanswered points before Centralia scored to cut the lead to 24-21 with 9:35 remaining. Then came the drive. Palmyra started at its own 15 and launched on a drive that would eat up 5:35 of the game and seal the win despite producing no points.
1st and 10: Josh Hultz 7 run.
2nd and 3, Palmyra 22: Kizer 6 run.
1st and 10, P 28: Kizer -2 run.
2nd and 11, P 26: Hultz 4 run.
3rd and 7, P 30: Mason Frankin 10 run.
A surprising call by Miles. Palmyra had fed Centralia a steady diet of Butler, Hultz and Kizer up to this point. Running a jet sweep, Franklin was able to turn his body inside as he hit the edge and twist for a first down.
“Mason Franklin hasn’t run that jet twice in his high school career,” Miles said. “We ran it at one of the most crucial times and he stepped up and made a run at the most crucial time. It was awesome.”
1st and 10, P40: Butler 2 run.
2nd and 8, P 42: Hultz -3 run.
3rd and 16, P 39: Butler 16 run.
Impressive run by Butler, had rolled out to the right side of the field, but came the whole way back to the other side to pick up the first down. Palmyra threw a few peel back blocks to create some space. Well executed. Centralia had a tough time handling Butler’s scrambling ability.
“The Butler kid was able to buy himself time,” Centralia coach Erle Bennett said. “He’s really athletic. We’d get a little heat on him and he’d buy himself time. The worst thing we could do is put pressure on him because he played better.”
1st and 10, C45: Butler run, no gain.
2nd and 10, C45 Hultz run, no gain.
3rd and 10, C45: Kizer 2 run.
4th and 8, C43: Butler 39 yard punt, downed by Palmyra at the Centralia four.
Five plays later, Hultz intercepted a pass and Palmyra ran out the clock to shock Class 3, No. 9 ranked Centralia.