Colonels win shootout on homecoming

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Homecoming weekend resulted in a win for Centre football.

The Colonels took down Rhodes 42-35 on a day full of offense for both teams. Each side finished with more than 500 total yards of offense.

“It felt like a track meet there for a little bit,” Centre head coach Andy Frye said. “Rhodes did a great job of preparing for us, they had two weeks. You could tell that they came out and schemed us up. Hats off to them, their quarterback played one of the best games I’ve seen a quarterback play in a long time. Fortunately we were able to contain him enough to win.”

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The reason for Rhodes’ offensive explosion? Quarterback PJ Settles.

“It was him. He had 500 yards himself,” Frye said. “We went into the game knowing he had the ability to run the football, we felt like he could extend plays with his feet. We felt his weakness on film was throwing from the pocket, and that’s where he was different. He made great throws, their receivers made great catches. I don’t want to take anything away from Rhodes, they competed very well. We were just, that day, a little better. In the big picture, there’s no asterisk by a win.”

Settles finished with 288 passing yards and 211 rushing yards, finishing with four total touchdowns.

But Centre’s offense was up to the task: On a day when the Colonels’ ground game wasn’t working, Devin Hayes threw for 449 yards and five touchdowns.

His favorite target, Cody Estep, finished with 10 catches for 214 yards and three scores.

“(Hayes) did real well, Cody Estep did well too,” Frye said. “He came through for us. We’re nursing a lot of injuries and a lot of backups were able to step in and play well for us.”

Those injuries to key positions helped Frye learn more about the depth on his team.

“Zach Berger went down so we played some backup defensive ends, Shane Smith came back, that was big. He just got released to play. Clayton Bell, Bryce Whitman, those guys came off of the bench and really helped us. Our safeties, Luc Gendreau had to come out and play after one of our safeties went down during the game. We’re kind of nursing some injuries, but we came back. That was big for us.”

It was an important win for the Colonels on homecoming, Frye said.

“I think the best thing about playing for homecoming is when the football alums come back,” Frye said. “I hope our football team understands that this goes back a lot further, this isn’t just about them. It’s about the traditions and legacies that other men have left you and that you’re following.

“That’s really important to me, I want our players to understand that Centre football is much bigger than you and goes back much farther than you. Now, there’s a stronger amount of pride in playing. The people that come back for the game, they certainly want to see their team win. That’s important.”

Centre (6-1, 4-1) will visit Millsaps this weekend. Frye said the focus will be on healing up before a tough conference test.

“We’ve got to get some people ready,” the coach said. “Right now we’ve got three or four guys that are questionable for Saturday. We’ve got to get more people ready to play, and that’s just part of the game. That’s what you’ve got to do to compete.”

Millsaps lost to Berry on Saturday, playing the SAA conference leaders to within two scores.

“Millsaps is, I think, a pretty good football team,” Frye said. “They’re kind of on and off, there’s sometimes when I watch them on film and they’re really good, then there’s other times where they look average. Those kind of teams scare you, they have the ability to be very good. They’re coming off of a Berry loss, and they played them well. We’ve got our hands full.”