ANDERSON, Ind. — In just about every situation, every down-and-distance, Central’s football team always had a pretty good call Friday night facing North Central Conference foe Anderson.
Give the ball to Andre Wells and let the big running back work.
It came to focus most clearly and absurdly with 8 seconds left in the first half when Wells got the ball in what seemed like a play to run out the clock. Instead he got all 80 yards in front of him, on the way to 281 yards and a school-record six touchdowns in the Bearcats’ 53-27 road victory after an hour-plus weather delay.
“I just go out there and I do what I can do,” Wells said. “I thank my line and wide receivers. They set me up every single play.”
Well set the tone with two explosive runs on his first two carries and capped opening drive with a 26-yard, punishing touchdown scamper. His scores came from 26, 8,12, 38, 80 and 5 yards.
“He’s a tough kid,” said Central coach Adam Morris, whose team improved to 2-1. “I think, no doubt, he’s special when he has the ball in his hands. He’s still learning how to do some of the other things.
“But when he has the ball in his hands, he’s really good.”
Wells only needed 17 carries to reach his massive totals and was pulled from the game after his final score. The Bearcats passing game contributed, with quarterback Trenton Hatfield throwing for 152 efficient yards (82 to receiver Jamel Barnes), while running a no-huddle attack.
Anderson (1-2) manage to match Central’s first two scores, but were undone by a 26-0 spurt to close the half. When Indians coach Robert Brown broke down the issues for his rushing defense, he remained succinct.
“Forty-four,” Brown said, referencing Well’s jersey number. “I can’t speak specifically to it, because I don’t know. I have to watch the film. But that 44 is a player. He showed it tonight. We didn’t have an answer for him.”
The Indians got 159 yards from running back Djuan Peel, but 84 came on a fourth-quarter run with the game well out of reach. All told, the Indians managed 295 yards on 4.4 yards per play.
Despite that, there were a few notable bright spots for the Bearcat defense. Lineman Jayonne Foley had two of the team’s three sacks. Central picked off two passes, including a leaping one from Joe Scruggs when Anderson tried to force the ball to top playmaker Dashaun Johnson. There was some good one-on-one tackling and tight grips on jerseys to prevent Andersen players from escaping.
That said, Morris chuckled when the subject of tackling came up. His team had technique issues in spots, mishandled at least four snaps on offense and gave up a pair of late touchdowns after running out to the lead. It all served as a reminder this group is still far from 100 percent on the little things.
Morris’ short postgame speech opened with a reminder there were, give or take, about “one million” things to correct off Friday night’s performance. But that was something the team could worry about Saturday.
It was a message the night’s biggest star took to heart.
“We should be doing a lot better,” Wells said. “Every practice, we’re working on something. No team is perfect, so we’re going to go back each week and work on everything.”
Central 53, Anderson 27
At Anderson, Ind.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central 7 33 7 6 — 53
Anderson 7 7 6 7 — 27
C — Wells 26 run (McNabb kick)
A — Barron 1 run (Erny kick)
C — Wells 8 run (McNabb kick)
A — Reynolds 41 run (Erny kick)
C — Wells 12 run (kick failed)
C — Hatfield 14 run (run failed)
C — Wells 38 run (run failed)
C — Wells 80 run (Barnes pass from Hatfield)
C — Wells 5 run (McNabb kick)
A — Barron 2 run (Kick failed)
A — Armstrong 9 pass from Barron (Erny kick)
C — Cleaves 45 run (run failed)
First downs: Central: 14; Anderson: 13
Fumbles-lost: Central: 5-0; Anderson: 3-0
Penalties-yards: Central: 9-45 ; Anderson: 2-10
Rushing: Wells 17-281, Cleaves 6-66, Young 3-17, Brown 1-8, Hatfield 5-0. Totals: 34-372.
Passing: Hatfield 9-14-0 152, Brown 0-1-0-0, Scruggs 0-1-0-0. Totals: 9-16-0-152.
Receiving: Barnes 4-82, Hood 3-55, Brown 1-17, Cole 1-(-2).
Rushing: Peel 16-159, Reynolds 2-44, Barron 14-19, Diltas 2-(-1), TEAM 1-(-1), Armstrong 2-(-6), Erny 1-(-32). Totals: 38-192.
Passing: Barron 16-29-2-103. Totals: 16-29-2-103.
Receiving: Armstrong 6-55, Johnson 3-19, Boatner 2-9, Peel 2-0, Moore 1-22, Reynolds 1-0, Hoyle 1-(-2). Totals: 103.