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Central gets offensive, spoils debut of IL's 'Reservation'

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By Eric Rowell

INDIAN LAND – The debut of “The Reservation” was a downer.Class AA’s fifth-ranked Central Eagles were birds of prey as they used a solid effort to blank Indian Land 35-0 in the Warriors’ 2008 home opener.Prior to kickoff, the Catawba Indians, led by Chief Donald Rogers, dedicated the IL field which was once part of the Catawba’s nearby reservation in neighboring York County.The ceremony was pretty much the highlight for the home team. Afterward, the Central Eagles soared on three first-half scores on the way to their third win.Central, which allowed one first down, has now outscored its first three foes 105-7.“We knew it would be a challenge and we had to have a flawless game tonight,” IL coach Mike Mayer said. “Our defense played hard and we never let up, but Central just had too much firepower. They were able to come out and take control to keep the upper hand.”The Eagles exploded for three first-half scores on the way to the win.CHS, which piled up 393 yards total offense – 262 on the ground, broke on top as Steven Smith tallied on a six-yard run. Matt Ocasio added the conversion, the first of five on the night, to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.Central struck again in the first period as Corky Clark, who ran for 85 yards in 10 carries, bolted 42 yards to paydirt on a third-and-two play.Central extended its lead to 21-0 as Smith, who was 4-9 for 58 yards, connected with Justice Cunningham on a 12-yard touchdown pass with just under 10 minutes to play in the opening half.Central, which held a 21-0 first-half lead, added two second-half scores.Willie Clyburn, who rushed for 74 yards in eight carries, tallied on runs of 33 and two yards to cap the night’s scoring.“Central has a strong running game and they defend the run real well,” Mayer said. “We need work on getting better in the offensive and defensive lines.”The Warriors have another big night ahead Friday as they host county rival Andrew Jackson for IL homecoming.AJ, 1-2, snapped a two-game skid with a 27-15 home win over Class A foe North Central.“We have to regroup and put this behind us and focus on Andrew Jackson,” Mayer said. “AJ will come here with some momentum and it will be a tough game. We have to pick it up and generate some offense to keep our defense off the field.”