Gents’ football finishes practice season with aplomb

LEADING THE WAY:  John Ware was Centenary’s top runner Saturday as the Gents finished their exhibition season with a road win in Arkansas. (Photo courtesy Centenary Athletics)


BATESVILLE, Ark. – The Centenary football team finished off an impressive exhibition season on Saturday afternoon with a 27-10 victory over the Lyon College Scots at Pioneer Stadium. 

The Gents (8-1) made their historic return to the gridiron this season for the first time since the 1940s and outscored their nine opponents, 375-113, and recorded three shutouts under the direction of head coach Byron Dawson. 

Centenary opened the season with seven-straight wins over junior varsity teams before falling to the Arkansas Baptist College Buffaloes varsity 56-23 on Nov. 4 in Little Rock, Ark. The game against Lyon College was the Gents’ third road game in a span of just 13 days. 

The Gents fell behind 7-0 as the Scots scored on a short touchdown pass at the 6:30 mark of the first quarter, but answered immediately as freshman receiver Devin Ardoin   took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a score and freshman Russell Skipper Jr. added the PAT to tie the game. 

Skipper kicked a 37-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining in the second quarter to give the Gents a 10-7 halftime lead. Centenary extended the lead to 17-7 as freshman receiver Jay Richardson caught a 36-yard TD pass from freshman Jalen Robinson at the 7:02 mark of the third period. 

The Scots cut the lead to 17-10 on a short field goal with 55 seconds remaining in the third, but the Maroon and White scored the final 10 points of the game to pull away for the win. 

Skipper nailed a 46-yard FG with 10:40 left in the fourth quarter, and Ardoin had a three-yard TD run with 2:37 left to ice the game. 

Centenary finished with 69 plays for 275 yards of total offense and had 27 first downs. Lyon ran 64 plays for 245 yards and gained 10 first downs. The Gents rushed 40 times for 90 yards and shut down the Scots’ ground game, holding them to just 29 yards on 28 carries. Robinson was an impressive 26-28 passing for 185 yards and a TD while the Scots’ two QB’s, Eli Funck and Joe Galay, combined to go just 15-36 for a TD and three interceptions, all thrown by Funck. 

Sophomore Josh Ware was the Gents’ leading rusher, carrying the ball 16 times for 48 yards. Ardoin had seven rushes for 40 yards and a TD, freshman Daylen Robinson had five rushes for 26 yards. Ardoin had a team-high 13 catches for 79 yards, Richardson had four for 58 and a TD and Ware had three for 14. 

Defensively, freshman linebacker Devon Strickland and senior defensive lineman DJ Smith each finished with a team-best seven tackles, freshman linebacker Jamil Cloman  had six, and freshman defensive lineman D’Quavion Lemons had five. Smith had five solo stops, 1.5 sacks, and 1.5 tackles for loss, while Cloman was right behind him with four solo tackles. 

Centenary will officially resume playing intercollegiate football next fall.