Centennial's Noah Larson (21) breaks free from a tackle. Photo: Matt Blewett, Special to the Star Tribune, firstname.lastname@example.org
After a season of leaning heavily on quarterback Connor Zulk to carry the offense, Centennial opted to spread the wealth Friday. The Cougars showcased a deep and talented group of backs and a smallish but fast and physical offensive line in a 41-14 rout of Stillwater in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.
Senior Noah Larson rushed nine times for 137 yards and scored two touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving — to pace Centennial (7-2) to its fifth consecutive victory.
“They took Connor out of it and we saw that,” said Centennial coach Mike Diggins. “Going into the game we thought we could some things. And we didn’t even do some of the things we wanted to.”
What the Cougars did do was plenty. With Zulk running the read-option offense with aplomb, the rushing attack picked up yards in huge chunks. Centennial scored the first four times it had ball in the first half on drives of seven, five, five, and four plays and finished the game with almost 400 yards on the ground.
Zulk scored the first two touchdowns on runs of 2 and 11 yards as Centennial built a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Centennial, using an effective read option offense, scored the first four times it had the ball en route to a 41-14 victory over Stillwater.
The Cougars put together drives of seven, five, five and four plays, all of which ended in the end zone.
Connor Zulk rushed for two touchdowns and Noah Larson ran for one and caught a touchdown pass for Centennial (7-2), which rushed for 216 yards on just 21 carries in the first half.
Stillwater finished the season 3-6.
Check back later for more on the game.