CENTERVILLE — The Battle of Highway 5 trophy will stay in Centerville for the sixth consecutive season.

A close ballgame at the half didn't remain. The Big Reds dominated on both sides of the ball, defeating the Albia Blue Demons 42-7 in the second week of action in non-district play.

The 112th meeting of the historic rivalry christened the new artificial turf at Paul Johnson Field, part of a $2 million project still underway that includes improvements to the track and ticket entrance.

The Big Reds persevered on a first-quarter drive to draw first blood. After converting on 4th down and 8 yards to go, Centerville went down to 4th and goal. An Albia penalty gave Centerville another crack at the end zone, and one they took advantage of.

A one-yard quarterback keeper by Sawyer Wardlow gave Centerville a 6-0 lead with 2:28 to go in the first quarter.

A few minutes later, Wardlow scored again on a 10-yard keeper. A successful point-after kick by Connor Stephens sent the Big Reds ahead 13-0.

The Blue Demons broke their silence with 2:52 to go in the first half with a nine-yard touchdown from Garin Grinstead to Landen Simpson.

A 13-7 advantage at the end of the first half didn't satisfy the Big Reds, who would win on both sides of the ball in the third quarter, jumping to a 35-7 lead.

Wardlow threw a 2-yard pass to Kade Mosley, Jayden Ruiz received a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wardlow, and Isaac Byrd gave Centerville a defensive score with a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Mosley would make the final score of the night for Centerville, with 9:23 to go in the fourth quarter. A 45-yard reception from Wardlow to Mosley was fumbled into the end zone, but recovered by Mosley, for a score.

The non-district rivalry game improves Centerville to 2-0 on the young season, as Albia falls to 0-2.

Centerville hosts a non-district week three contest with Sigourney-Keota on Friday. Albia will host Central Lee in non-district play.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.


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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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