By KYLE OCKER
---- — MOUNT PLEASANT — The Centerville Big Reds were down 6-0 early after Nyazum Gwamna took the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. However, they responded back before taking the 37-16 victory over Mount Pleasant on Friday, improving to 3-2 on the year and 2-1 in district play.
Centerville tied the game at 6-6 midway through the first quarter with a six yard run by Grant Walker. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Walker would record another six yard touchdown run with 4:02 left in the first quarter, putting Centeville up 13-6 after Brent Jackson kicked the extra point.
Centerville’s Michael Starcevich broke the school record for career touchdown passes with a 56 yard completion to Kolton Gonnerman with 1:51 left in the first quarter. Jackson kicked the PAT to put Centerville up 20-6.
The passing touchdown record was 21 and was held by David DenHartog from the 1984 state tournament team.
Mount Pleasant (0-5, 0-2) scored twice in the second quarter, with a one yard run by Carson Remick and a 27 yard field goal by Gwamna, narrowing Centerville’s lead to 20-16 as the two teams entered halftime.
Graydon Schmidt scored for Centerville, taking advantage of what was nearly a turnover. Centerville, with the ball on Mount Pleasant’s 1-yard line, fumbled. Schmidt picked up the ball on the four yard line and ran it in for a Centerville touchdown. After a Jackson kick, Centerville held a 27-16 advantage.
Jackson would kick a 31-yard field goal in the third quarter, making the score 30-16.
Starcevich connected with Gonnerman yet again, with 7:22 left in the game. The 40-yard touchdown pass was the 23rd of Starcevich’s career and his second to Gonnerman of the game.
Starcevich also bested the school record for career passing yards. The record number was 2,756 set by Kyle Kauzlarich, who graduated in 2006. At the end of the game, Starcevich has thrown 3,029 yards in his high school career. So far this season, Starcevich has thrown 1,194 yards, which is already more than the 1,177 yards he threw as starting quarterback all of last season.
Friday’s game was an emotional game for the team, as the Big Reds played in their coach Chuck Evan’s hometown on the field named after Chuck’s father, Bob Evans, on Mount Pleasant’s homecoming night. Before the game, Mount Pleasant honored the 1963 state championship team from Mount Pleasant that went unscored upon en route to a perfect 9-0 season. Chuck’s father, Bob, was the coach of the team that year.
Another Centerville tie to the team was former Centerville High School coach and teacher Roger Campbell, who was a starter on the team in 1963 and scored a bulk the 270 points Mt. Pleasant scored that season.
Chuck’s father, Bob, passed away last year.
Centerville (3-2, 2-1) will celebrate homecoming as they host Fort Madison this Friday in an important game for playoff positioning in 3A, District 7. The varsity game will kickoff no earlier than 7:30 p.m. The freshman game begins at 5 p.m.
Centerville 37, Mt. Pleasant 16
CEN 20 0 10 7 — 37
MTP 6 10 0 0 — 16
M — Nyzaum Gwamna 97 kickoff return (Gwamna kick failed).
C — Grant Walker 6 run (two point failed).
C — Walker 6 run (Brent Jackson kick), 4:02.
C — Michael Starcevich 6 pass to Kolton Gonnerman (Jackson kick), 1:51.
M — Carson Remnick 1 run (Gwamna kick), 11:37.
M — Gwamna 27 yard field goal.
C — Graydon Schmidt 1 run (Jackson kick).
C — Jackson 31 yard field goal.
C — Starcevich 40 pass to Gonnerman (Jackson kick), 7:22.
Centerville individual stats
Passing — Michael Starcevich 17-23-0, 294 yards.
Rushing — Starcevich 18-56 yards, Graydon Schmidt 7-45, Grant Walker 11-32.
Receiving — Kolton Gonnerman 10-191 yards, Garrett Moorman 2-45, Garrett Faris 2-28, Schmidt 2-24, Walker 1-6.
Tackles (top-three) — Gabe Cowan 13, Michael Cope 10, Brett Bauman 5, Stephen Cochran 5, Tate Felton 5.