Burlington Central holds on, beats Hampshire
Burlington Central battled the heat and a pesky Hampshire team to pull out a 28-25 win in its opening game on Rocket Hill Friday night.
After spotting their Fox Valley Conference foe a 7-0 lead early in the contest, the Rockets scored two touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 14-7 led at the intermission. Central appeared to pulling away, taking a two-TD lead in the third quarter. However, Hampshire battled back, scored twice to trail only 21-19 six seconds into the fourth quarter.
Central added another TD in the last frame only to have Hampshire score again with 4:37 to play. The Rockets burned a lot of clock on their next possession but punted the ball back to the Whip-Purs with 1:37 left on the clock. Starting on their own 44-yard line, Hampshire was unable to score and turned the ball over on downs with 41.2 seconds left to play.
"We fought through the weather, we fought through the cramps. It was hot out here and we had these 3-year seniors that are leading our team," said Central coach Brian Melvin. "Both teams played really well. Hampshire is a really good team."
Garvin Sarvis, one of the third-year varsity players, was the team's workhorse. The senior as a running back scored two touchdowns, gained 121 yards on 31 carries. He is also the team punter, kicking seven times for an average of 30. yards. Sarvis also earned a sack during the Whip-Purs' last possession.
"He's an unbelievable football player," Melvin said.
Hampshire wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. On its second snap of the game, quarterback Tyler Fikis (6 for 13 for 143 yards) swept to his left and sprinted 93 yards down the sideline for the touchdown.
Central tied the game at the 10:14 mark of the second quarter. QB Shawn Adkerson (5 for 8 for 39 yards) capped an eight play, 71-yard drive with a quarterback sneak from the Whip-Purs 2 yard line.
Sarvis put the Rockets in front 14-7 with 3:36 left in the half on a 4-yard run.
Central took advantage of a funky Hampshire punt to score its third TD with 6:18 left in the third quarter and take a 21-7 lead. The low kick, from the Whip-Purs 15-yard line, bounced off a Rockets defender and rolled to Hampshire 8-yard line before it was downed. Two plays later, Sarvis crossed the goal line for his second score on a 4-yard run.
The Whip-Purs rebounded by scoring its second TD on their next drive. Fikis completed an 80-yard, 8 play drive with a 3-yard scamper to cut the Rockets' lead to 21-13.
Hampshire pulled within 21-19 on its next drive, another 80-yard drive ending with a 38-yard pass to Devin Yeats (four catches for 107 yards).
Central capitalized on another Hampshire miscue to get a little more breathing room. The Rockets defense force a fumble at the Whip-Purs 48-yard line. Robert Gall scooped up the loose ball and sprinted across the goal line to put his team up, 28-19.
Hampshire responded by scoring on its next possession, a 1-yard run by David Kenney.