On a cold and windy night, Century managed to have a bit more offensive balance than Byron and it paid off for the host Panthers.
Century had 177 yards passing and 127 rushing en route to a 34-13 win over the Bears in non-district football play. The Panthers (5-2) also had the luxury of getting strong games from Isaiah Huber and Jack Fisher.
Huber ran for three touchdowns and caught another scoring pass as Century snapped its one-game losing streak.
"It was just really cold," Huber said. "It wouldn't have been that bad if the wind wasn't there. But after a while you just get used to it, running around, and it didn't really matter that much."
Huber rushed for 135 yards on 24 carries including scoring runs of 3, 3 and 8 yards. Century junior quarterback Nathan Eberhart was 7-for-14 passing for 133 yards and a TD strike to Huber to open the scoring.
"It was cold and windy and sometimes it was going against you," Eberhart said. "We had a lot of shorter passes because of how bad the wind was going in one of the directions. But when were were going with the wind, we could do pretty well."
The Panthers had the wind at their backs in the first quarter and they quickly took control after stopping Byron's first drive. Eberhart hit Jack Fisher with a 41-yard yard pass and then flipped a short pass to Huber who ran in from 15 yards out.
"We just ran as much as we could and when the time came we just threw it up and we have a lot of good receivers," Huber.
Huber had a 44-yard run on Century's second drive, which set up the first of his three TD runs.
"It wasn't really one of those days that you couldn't cut," Huber said. "I just ran hard and sometimes I got lucky and I got loose."
"That was important," Century coach Jon Vik said of the team's balanced attack. "We were able to move the ball effectively in the first quarter then we sort of slowed down in the second. We just have to make sure we're able to run the ball if we're not able to throw it."
While Century's offense started the game well, the Panthers were also holding elite Byron running back Austin Freerksen in check early. On his first 12 carries, Freerksen had just one run longer than five yards.
"Our front did really good," Huber said. "They have a really good running back but he didn't get much done. And our DBs were locked down, too."
Freerksen had some success at the end of the first half and in the third quarter. He had a 14-yard TD run late in the second quarter to pull Byron within 20-7. He had runs of 11, 10 and 24 yards in the third quarter and finished with 95 yards on 25 carries.
"They tweaked a couple of things as far as blocking," Vik said. "And once our kids adjusted, they were able to shut him down again. But they have a heck of a tailback there. I think the big thing is to be fundamentally sound. You have to be gap sound. A couple of his big runs, we had kids out of position."
Byron got the lone TD in the third quarter to pull within 20-13. The Bears (3-4) were driving for a possible tying score early in the fourth quarter when Fisher intercepted a pass in the end zone, his second pick of the game, and returned it 60 yards.
"Jack had a great game on both sides of the football," Vik said. "He's a real competitive kid and he comes to play every single game."
Two drives later, Fisher caught a 39-yard TD pass from Matthew Haun to put Century up 27-13. Fisher had a leaping 31-yard grab on a pass from Eberhart on Century's final drive, which ended in Huber's 8-yard scoring run. Fisher finished with five catches for 120 yards.
"He catches everything," Eberhart said. "He can jump super high and he's so athletic. I know I can just throw it up and he'll be there."
Colton Douglas sparked the Byron defense with two of the Bears' five sacks.
Century will host city rival Mayo on Wednesday while Byron plays at Winona in the regular-season finale.
"It's a big win because we have Mayo next week and it's a big bounce-back because losing to New Prague (last week) was disappointing," Eberhart said.
CENTURY 34, BYRON 13
Cent — Isiah Huber 15 pass from Nathan Eberhart (Riley Leif kick), 8:22.
Cent — Huber 3 run (Leif kick), 3:34.
Cent — Huber 3 run (kick failed), 9:55.
Byr — Austin Freerksen 14 run (John Lutzi kick), 1:09.
Byr — Ben Steinessen 4 run (kick failed), 7:06.
Cent — Jack Fisher 39 pass from Matthew Haun (Leif kick),7:32.
Cent — Huber 8 run (Leif kick), 1:16.
First downs 11 14
Total yards 177 304
Rush att.-yards 32-107 36-127
Passing yards 70 177
Passing comp.-att.-int 8-24-2 9-19-1
Fumbles-lost 4-0 2-0
Punts 5-22.6 5-26.4
Penalties-yards 8-64 7-62
Byron: Austin Freerksen 25-95, Ben Stienessen 5-29, Andrew Scheuer 2-(-17). Century: Isaiah Huber 24-135, Jack Fisher 1-15, Cole Elbing 3-11, Matthew Haun 1-(-2), Nathan Eberhart 7-(-32).
Byron: Andrew Scheuer 8 comp., 24 att., 0 TD, 2 int., 70 yards. Century: Nathan Eberhart 7-14-1-0, 133 yards; Matthew Haun 2-4-1-0, 44 yards; Isaiah Huber 0-1-0-0, 0 yards.
Byron: Ben Stienessen 5-31, Noah Schmitz 3-33, Austin Freerksen 0-6. Century: Jack Fisher 5-120, Isaiah Huber 3-38, Zachary Man 1-29.
Byron: Collin Dahlback 3-59, Agwa Nywesh 1-22. Century: Jack Fisher 5-102, , Mark Leonard 3-34, Donaven Johnson 2-32, Zachary Man 2-10, Isaiah Huber 1-3.