HARVARD -- Joe Breeden was just trying to let the punt bounce into the end zone. But like a guided missile, it found him and he caught it almost out of self-defense. Breeden seemingly shrugged and took off up the left sideline.
Ninety-two yards later, Breeden was in the end zone and Burlington Central had a 14-3 lead against Harvard. The Rockets held on to win, 21-9, in Big Northern East Friday action at Dan Horne Field.
Breeden's accidental punt return was a momentum-changer for the Rockets (3-1, 2-0), who otherwise got steady play on both sides of the ball.
"I wasn't even going to grab it, but it bounced in my hands," said Breeden. "I got good blocks around the edge, they set up a wall, I took it left, just kept going, took it inside and scored."
Tyler Majewski, starting his second game in place of injured Ryan Ritchie, looked nothing like the guy who started the year as the emergency quarterback. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 125 yards. Sophomore tailback Trevor Davison, in his second varsity game, ran for 60 yards and 2 scores, and the Rockets' defense stuffed the Hornets most of the night.
"He got more comfortable this week," Central coach Rich Crabel said of Majewski. "We put him in situations where we believe he can be successful. The things we gave him tonight we trusted him to do."
The Rockets were again their own worst enemy in the first quarter. After a fumble on their first play from scrimmage, the Hornets took the lead on Sergio Ramirez's 27-yard field goal.
The Rockets finally took the lead just before halftime, with Davison going in from 9 yards out.
Breeden's return gave Central a seemingly safe lead on a night that defenses dominated. But Harvard got back in the game when Justin Nolen hauled in a pass from Hornet quarterback James Musgrove that deflected off Breeden's fingertips. Nolen came down at the Rockets' 5-yard line and 4 plays later Sammy Soliz took it in from the one-foot line to make it 14-9.
The Rockets answered with a long, clock-killing drive. Davison ran it in from a yard out with 1:58 left. Casey Matthews intercepted Musgrove to snuff out the Hornets' final chance.