Regular season champions
CENTERVILLE — Coming into the regular-season finale with Washington, Centerville senior wide out Kolton Gonnerman was 13 yards away from a 1,000-yard season.
One game later he still hasn’t hit quadruple digits after senior cornerback Carl Sivels locked him down in one of the biggest matchups Friday.
“We moved Alex (Coker) into that safety position (this season),” said Washington head coach Randy Schrader. “We put Carl on an island. Coker was our lockdown guy last year. We put a lot of faith in Carl and he rose to the occasion. That was one of top guys in the state, and he locked him down.”
This led the Demons to a 63-3 win that clinched an outright District title in dominant fashion.
“It feels great,” Sivels said. “Since we have been young, we have talked about wanting this to happen. It is good to know that all the hard work since we were freshman is starting to pay off.”
Early drops played right into Washington’s hand as the game wore on.
“They had some drops and we were pretty physical that had to do with their drops too,” Schrader said. “We got some heat on the guy and he got some happy feet. Our kids played pretty well defensively.”
It was the Demons, not the Big Reds, who passed for more yards, 134-59.
“They are more of an air offense,” Sivels said. “They pass it as much as we run it. That is surprising. That is a tribute to our defense.”
Washington continued its reliance on the running game with 387 total yards. Four backs found the end zone: senior Alex Coker twice, senior Tanner Knupp three times and sophomore Ethan Hansen and Sivels once, each.
“It’s just great, because if one guy is having an off night, we can lean on another back,” Sivels said. “We have a lot of leadership back there. Me, Tanner Knupp and Bubba (Coker) are all senior backs. Daryn is a great leader. He can run the ball just as much as he can throw it.”
Junior quarterback Daryn Sebelius completed all five of his passes for two touchdowns.
“We will take whatever they give us,” Schrader said.
Junior Gage Redlinger had a 33-yard touchdown catch and Knupp hauled in a 22-yard score.
Washington sat its starters for the majority of the second half as the Demons were able to avoid injuries in the finale.
“We got a lot of guys in,” Schrader said. “We pulled our guys after the first series of the third quarter. We were able to rest our starters.”
Senior Alex Coker hit the 1,000 mark in the final game of the regular season to finish with 123 attempts for 19 touchdowns.
“I think anytime you get a 1,000-yard rusher, especially in a nine-game season, it is a big deal,” Schrader said. “That is a credit to coach Don Miksch and offensive line. Coach Jay Zieglowsky coaches our running backs. It is a credit to Alex Coker, too. He put in the time in the weight room.”
Sebelius had 1,069 all-purpose yards this year as a dual threat.
“It is his second year in a row (starting as quarterback),” Schrader said. “He is a great leader; he is a football guy. He understands how to run our offense. He is tuned in to what we got to do. He had a great night Friday.”
Senior Garrett Covington made 15 tackles to lead the team in tackles with 81 on the season.
“He played well,” Schrader. “He can run some things down because of his speed and tenacity. The way it is set up, our linebackers should be our leading tacklers. Our down guys are supposed to keep occupied blocks and keep them off of our linebackers.”
Knupp was second on the team with 72 tackles and tied for third with six sacks.
Schrader said these seniors are the top class he has coached in his four years at Washington.
“They understand what we expect,” Schrader said. “They have a great attitude. They come practice every day. We have great practices. Our weight room has been well above average. We don’t want it to end. We have some unfinished business. We talked about that at the end of practice Sunday.”
Washington faces Carlisle at Case Field Wednesday at 7 p.m.