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.