Centre football defense strong at Hanover

Published 4:12 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Centre College’s defense showed up as its offense was slow out of the gate Saturday at Hanover.

The Colonels wore down their opponent behind a program-record 38 carries from Trevor Carnell en route to a 27-14 victory in Indiana. Head coach Andy Frye said he was happy with the way his defense played in the win.

“Hats off a little bit to Hanover, they’re a much better team than they were in the last two years,” Frye said. “We played very well defensively, I feel like. We gave up one score on an interception and gave up the other score on a fourth and long, we roughed their kicker on a punt and they went on to score that drive. So really, we could’ve maybe had a shutout. But we played well defensively.”

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On the other side of the ball, Carnell had to be a beast: He ran 38 times for 180 yards and two scores.

“Trevor was our workhorse,” Frye said. “He played an outstanding game. He’s a tough football player, kind of born and bred Kentuckian. He’s from Bullitt Central, and he was a really good high school running back. He was our workhorse, and he had to be. Colin Burnam was our other running back, he was injured, Tyler Hoffman, a senior, gave Trevor some spells, but Trevor just had an outstanding game.”

Frye also noted junior wide receiver Cody Estep as a player on offense who stood out — the Pikeville native caught six catches for 111 yards and two scores.

“Cody and Trevor really played about as well as I’ve seen them play here,” Frye said. “They’ve really showed it this year. Devin (Hayes) started off slowly, he threw two picks early and you could tell that we weren’t in rhythm, but Cody certainly helped that. He made some big catches, Trevor made some big runs and we were able to develop a finish to our drives.”

Hayes finished the game with a respectable line — 18-for-30 for 216 yards, two scores and two interceptions — but it was Carnell who paced the offense early.

“He had to. Offensively, we just couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Frye said. “We were moving the ball well, but we weren’t finishing. (Hanover) did a great job pinning us deep, about every series in the first half. I know we started inside the 20 and one time we started inside the one-yard line. We were moving the ball, we just couldn’t finish. A holding call here, or an illegal procedure, would set us back. We didn’t get going till the second half.”

Hanover scored the first touchdown of the game on a 68-yard interception return for a score. Estep’s first touchdown reception came with 28 seconds left in the first half to tie the game 7-7 before halftime.

In the second half, Centre’s offense started to click. Carnell scored a one-yard run to cap a 10 play, 89 yard drive in the third quarter for Centre to take its first lead of the young season. Estep caught his second touchdown — this one from 28 yards — less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Carnell scored another one-yard touchdown run to make the score 27-7 in the fourth quarter.

“I think the best thing that happened to us, we have not had any adversity,” Frye said. “We haven’t had to practice through any adversity. Fortunately, we had some adversity and we were able to overcome it, and I think you have to practice that to be a good football team.”

This week, the Colonels will host Anderson in their first home game of the season. But Frye isn’t focused on his opponent — he wants his team to clean up some mistakes this week.

“Anderson is coming in and you can tell they’re a better football team than we were last year, but right now, I’m more worried about us than Anderson,” Frye said. “I’m concerned more about our preparation, correcting our mistakes from Saturday. One thing I know we have to improve on this week is on special teams. I feel like our special teams overall did not play what I would say a ‘clean game.’ But it can all be corrected, and quite honestly, we’ll go into this Anderson game putting all the focus on us, not on them.”