Football | Century vs. Mayo
Sometimes it pays to know where your best friend is on the football field. It certainly paid big dividends for Century on Friday.
With time winding down on Friday and Mayo nursing a 17-13 lead, Century faced a first-and-10 from the Spartans 25 with less than a minute to play. Mayo pressured Century quarterback Arath Martinez and the senior looked like he was about to be sacked. But Martinez flipped a short underhanded pass to Colin Smith.
“Just chemistry,” Martinez said. “That’s just practice, he’s my friend on and off the field. ... We made eye contact.”
Smith proceeded to ramble to the Mayo 6-yard-line.
“That’s just my best friend, and communication right there,” Smith said. “I knew what was going on; I saw that he was in trouble and I tried to make a play.”
On the very next play, Martinez scrambled into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown run. The score came with just 29 seconds left and not only capped an improbable 79-yard drive in less than two minutes, but it also rallied Century from a 17-7 deficit in the fourth quarter. The scored lifted the host Panthers to a 20-17 victory in Big Southeast District, Red Sub-District football play.
“We faced adversity and overcame it, that’s what counts,” Martinez said.
Century trailed by 10 when it got the ball back with 7:31 to go. The Panthers’ offense had little margin for error at that point, and had seen its ground game shut down for most of the game. Martinez guided the Panthers 73 yards as he completed 4 of 5 passes on the drive for 55 yards, including a huge 31-yard completion to sophomore Isaiah Huber.
“Really our kids did a nice job of pass blocking when we needed to. Everybody knew we were going to be throwing the ball,” Century coach Jon Vik said. “The linemen did a nice job of blocking and the skill position players made plays.”
Thomas Mergen capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run with 4:52 left to cut the margin to 17-13.
Century’s defense then got a huge three-and-out, holding Mayo’s strong ground game to seven yards on three carries. Mayo punted, but Century still had 79 yards to go in just 2:22.
“We didn’t block things correct at times and unfortunately it was in crucial times, in third down and short,” Mayo coach Donny Holcomb said. “So give Century credit for coming out and getting it done.”
Smith, who had a 59-yard reception to set up a Century TD in the second quarter, opened the game-winning drive with a 34-yard reception. Century was then able to overcome a holding penalty as Martinez hit Tyler Sullivan with a 19-yard pass and then the quarterback ran for 11 yards to the Mayo 25 on a third-and-1. That set the stage for Martinez’s shovel pass to his buddy Smith.
“I thought it was a really heads-up play toward the end of the game when Arath was kind of getting wrapped up and he shuffled the ball to Colin Smith,” Vik said. “Great play by Arath and heads up play by Colin being aware, catching the ball and then doing what he does best when he gets the ball in his hands.”
Smith finished with three catches for 112 yards.
“That was great being able to do that,” Smith said of his involvement in the passing game. “I was getting kind of frustrated, because they’re really aggressive on the run game and were clogging up my holes. But getting the pass game going, that was really good.”
Mayo’s last-ditched effort to score in the closing seconds was dashed by a Kobe Sinclair interception on the final play of the game, which touched off a wild celebration on the Century sidelines.
“It feels great, I can’t explain,” Martinez said. “I don’t have the words.”
Martinez finished the game with a career-high 270 yards passing. He completed 15 of 27 attempts. That made up for the fact that Century was limited to 47 yards rushing.
“We had some breakdowns on coverage,” Holcomb said. “And offensively, I thought we made a ton of mistakes that we were responsible for, but give them credit, coach Vik did a nice job of getting the kids ready and they played hard the entire game and never quit.”
Mayo quarterback Cade Sheehan ran for a pair of short touchdowns. He was 11-for-23 passing for 99 yards and two interceptions. Israel Lozoya had rushed for 279 yards and three TDs a week ago. He topped the century mark again, but the Panthers limited the senior running back to 125 yards on 20 carries and no touchdowns.
“We told each other in the locker room (at halftime) that we were coming back, that we have to start punishing them,” Smith said. “I think our defense just need to hold strong and our offense needed to get going and we did that.”
Century finished with 317 total yards and the Spartans had 236.
“Our kids showed great resiliency. Give Mayo credit, they had a great defensive game plan against us,” Vik said. “They moved the ball well offensively, we hung around and stayed in the game and the kids made plays when they needed to make plays.”
Century (3-1) will play at state-ranked Winona next Friday while Mayo (2-2) will host Faribault. “We just have to learn from it,” Holcomb said.
CENTURY 20, MAYO 17
Mayo 3 7 0 7 — 17
Century 0 7 0 13 — 20
Mayo — Jake McCabe 25 FG, 1:46.
Mayo — Cade Sheehan 2 run (McCabe kick), 2:15.
Cent — Jack Fisher 18 pass from Arath Martinez (Andrew Coleman kick).
Mayo — Sheehan 4 run (McCabe kick), 11:14.
Cent — Thomas Mergen 1 run (kick blocked), 4:52.
Cent — Martinez 6 run (Coleman kick), 0:29.
First downs 14 12
Total net yards 236 317
Rushes-yards 36-137 19-47
Passing yards 99 270
Comp.-att.-int. 11-23-2 15-27-1
Punts-ave. 4-38.3 5-33.5
Penalties-yds. 6-46 7-63
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-0
Mayo — Israel Lozoya 20-125, Cade Sheehan 12-15, Jack Murphy 1-(-1), Alex Lopez 3-(-2). Century — Arath Martinez 11-37, Colin Smith 7-9, Thomas Mergen 1-1.
Mayo — Cade Sheehan 11 completions, 23 attempts, 99 yards, 2 interceptions, 0 touchdowns. Century — Arath Martinez 15-27-270-1-1.
Mayo — Calvin Dixon 4-35, Jack Murphy 2-23, Alex Lopez 2-22, Cayden Holcomb 2-9, Ethan Loehrer 1-10. Century — Jack Fisher 4-54, Colin Smith 3-112, Tyler Sullivan 3-35, Isaiah Huber 2-37, Mark Leonard 2-11, Kobe Sinclair 1-21.