Defensive back Keelin Smith scored on a 96-yard fumble return and added an interception in the end zone to help Treasure Coast beat Centennial 21-13 on Friday night at South County Regional Stadium in a game that came down to the final series in the final two minutes.
After Justin Williams' 30-yard touchdown run gave Treasure Coast (3-2, 2-0 District 7-6A) a 7-0 lead, Centennial moved inside the Titans' 5-yard line and appeared poised to tie the game near the end of the first quarter.
A short pass from quarterback Tim Caffey was caught by running back Michael Nesmith near the goal line, but LaMarcus Brutus' tackle jarred the ball loose. Smith, who like Brutus has committed to Florida State, scooped up the ball and raced untouched down the Centennial sideline.
"It kind of bailed us out because we had a personal foul down there. (Keelin) actually made up for it because he's the one who got (the penalty)," Treasure Coast coach Irvin Jones said.
"We achieved some of our goals. We wanted a shutout, but it is what it is, and we're 2-0 in the district."
Said Eagles coach Ron Parker, "It's a 14-point swing. But I'm not going to blame that play on this game. They made the play, we didn't make the play."
Running back James Milien's touchdown at 6:34 of the second quarter gave the Titans a 21-0 halftime lead .
Centennial, however, didn't just pack it in and quit.
Javaris Giles recovered a Treasure Coast fumble by Treasure Coast on the second half's opening series. He then scored on a 1-yard run 12 plays later to cut the deficit to 21-6.
The Eagles (1-4, 0-1) converted a critical fourth-and-10 play with just over two minutes left in the game when Caffey connected with Michael Nesmith for a 29-yard gain. The junior quarterback scored on the next play, and a successful PAT made it 21-13 with 2:09 remaining.
Centennial's Jesse Berry then made the last two minutes even more dramatic when he recovered the onside kick at the Titans' 47.
But after the Eagles moved the ball to the Treasure Coast 31, a chop block penalty brought the ball back to the 50. Following three incomplete passes, Titans defender Jephte Leveille iced the game by sacking Caffey and turning the ball over on downs.
"It was toe-to-toe tonight," said Parker, whose team won the total yards battle 269-167. "They tried to knock us out in the first half and we got back up. We knocked them out in the second half - just not enough."
About the Author