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Century roughs up JM for 2nd win this season

Century rode impressive play along the line of scrimmage, outmuscling John Marshall in a 37-8 win at JM.

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Century’s Matt Haun (3) carries the ball during a football game against John Marshall Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at John Marshall High School in Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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There was a hunger to get that second win and it was shared by Century and John Marshall.

The Panthers' cravings were satisfied on Friday night and it was accomplished at the expense of that other one-win team, JM.

Paced by lines that were overpowering on both sides of the ball, Century (2-5 overall) dominated the Rockets (1-6) from start to finish and walked away with an overwhelming 37-8 win in the Big Southeast District game at John Drews Field.

RELATED: Photos: John Marshall, Century football
"We work hard in practice," Century quarterback Matt Haun said. "It was nice that things finally panned out for us."

And JM? Not only was it left wanting, but it was left ravaged -- again.

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Century’s Matt Haun (3) carries the ball during a football game against John Marshall Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at John Marshall High School in Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Injuries have crushed the Rockets all season and reared their awful head twice more on Friday. First it was standout defensive linemen Tate Zeller going down with a leg injury in the first half, then promising sophomore quarterback Darius Jordan -- who took a beating all night -- was sent to the bench with an apparent rib injury in the fourth quarter.

JM coach Kevin Kirkeby feared that both injuries would be season ending. The Rockets had lost six players to season-ending injuries entering the game.

Still, it wasn't injuries that were the difference in Friday's outcome. Above all, it was Century's strong play up front. Defensively, led by power-pack interior players Paulo Mendes (6-foot-1, 245 pounds) and Jacob Wimbish (6-1, 250), the Panthers allowed JM virtually nothing up the middle, slamming whichever Rockets ball carriers came their way.

JM had two big runs all day, and both were to the outside. One of them came late in the game, a 95-yard touchdown run by speedy and elusive Danny Ta. But take that sprint away, and JM had just 44 yards rushing.

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John Marshall’s Justin Jarland (34) carries the ball as Century’s Owen Merges (4) during a football game on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at John Marshall High School in Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

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"Playing in the middle of the defensive line is a lot of fun," Mendes said. "You have to be really aggressive and want to get after it. Me and Wimbish, that's my 'brother.' We've been together since youth (football). We love it in the trenches. You've got to make the plays and get your reads."

The Panthers' only other win had come two weeks ago, 28-20 over Austin. That is the same Packers team that JM had easily handled for its lone win early this season.

But there was no comparison in the Rochester rivals on Friday. Century, with all of that assertiveness up front, finished with 285 yards of total offense, compared to JM's 166. The bulk of the Panthers' damage was done in the first half when quarterback Haun hammered for all of his 113 yards rushing, including a 37-yard touchdown run up the middle.

Haun also threw for 108 yards and a touchdown in a first half that ended with the Panthers owning a commanding 27-0 lead.

It was a half that saw Century convert one third down after the other, while JM struggled to convert any.

Again, there was one place to point to, and that was Century's line play.

"We hadn't been as physical as we've needed to be this season, but I felt like our kids were really physical tonight," Century coach Jon Vik said. "We talked about needing to pick up the game physically if we want to try to compete in the playoffs. I thought our kids took that to heart."

Both teams have just one regular-season game left. Century has what would seem to be a winnable game, hosting Winona on Wednesday. JM has a rugged assignment, playing at No. 4-ranked (Class AAAA) and unbeaten Stewartville.

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Century 37, John Marshall 8

Century 14 13 10 0 — 37

John Marshall 0 0 0 8 — 8

First quarter

C -- Matt Haun 37 run (kick failed), 7:52.

C -- Josh Berg 17 pass from Matt Haun (Haun run), 2:15.

Second quarter

C -- Cole Elbing 1 run (Charles Paul kick), 3:55.

C -- Elbing 2 run (kick failed), :4.

Third quarter

C -- Charles Paul 26 field goal

C -- KK Silipkoh 45 fumble return (Paul kick), 5:23

Fourth quarter

JM -- Danny Ta 95 run (Jacob Brumm run), 5:53.

TEAM STATISTICS

C JM

First downs 15 7

Total net yards 283 165

Rushing yards 163 133

Passing yards 120 32

Pass at.t-comp.-int. 11-19-0 9-19-2

Fumbles lost 1-1 4-2

Penalties yards 6-70 7-50

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

Century — Cole Elbing 9-43, Matt Haun 13-113, Harrison Esau 2-3, Gavin Vogel 4-4. John Marshall — Troy Lee 2-4, Danny Ta 2-89, Lael Martinez 1-6, Darius Jordan 8-24, Jacob Brumm 10.

Passing

Century — Matt Haun 9 passes, 16 attempts, 1 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, for 108 yards; Harrison Esau 2-3-0-0, for 12 yards. John Marshall — Jordan 7-16-0-2, for 27 yards.; Jacob Brumm 2-3-0-0, for 5 yards.

Receiving

Century Josh Berg 2-30, Damian Gerads 3-41, Jacob Wills 3-8, Elbing 1-29, Eli Thompson 2-12 . John Marshall — Justin Jarland 4-18, Martinez 1-2, Alex Kucirek 2-7.

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or pruff@postbulletin.com.
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