Centennial football team loses game on schedule, fills gap within 24 hours

Centennial football team loses game on schedule, fills gap within 24 hours

For the second time in four seasons, the Centennial football program was left scrambling to fill a hole in its schedule. But unlike 2017, the Huskies quickly found a willing opponent.

Tuesday evening, organizers of The Honor Bowl showcase announced this year’s event had been canceled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Four of the schools scheduled to compete in the Southern California showcase at San Diego Cathedral Catholic would be travelling in from other states, including Centennial’s opponent, national powerhouse St. Frances Academy of Baltimore, Maryland.

“This is a sad day for the students, coaches, veterans and communities that have blessed us over the years,” The Honor Bowl said on its Twitter account (@honorgroup) Tuesday evening. “We wish you all the best and will be back in 2021.”

The Centennial-St. Frances showdown arguably would have been the most anticipated game of the showcase. St. Frances finished the 2019 season ranked No. 5 in MaxPreps.com’s national rankings and was the only team to knock off Florida’s IMG Academy last season. St. Frances was ranked No. 4 in MaxPreps.com’s 2020 preseason rankings, while Centennial checked in at No. 15.

This would have been Centennial’s first Honor Bowl appearance since the 2017 season. The Huskies beat Orange Lutheran and Gardena Serra in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Centennial dropped a 50-49 thriller to IMG Academy in 2016 and also lost the rematch the next season.

Five other teams from Southern California also will be affected by the cancellation of the Honor Bowl: JSerra, Marina, Scripps Ranch, Steele Canyon and Cathedral Catholic. Centennial could have tried to schedule one of those schools to fill the hole in Week 3 (Sept. 3-5), but the Huskies already play Cathedral Catholic at home in Week 2 and travel to JSerra for a Week 4 game.

“It is incredibly difficult to find an opponent willing to play at this point,” Centennial athletic director Bill Gunn said Wednesday morning. “We are not going to be particular. We will play that game on the road or at home. I’m optimistic we are going to find someone to play and get our schedule filled. But I have had that feeling before and ended up disappointed.”

Gunn was referring to the 2017 season when Centennial was unable to schedule an opponent to play in Week 4 or Week 5, leaving the Huskies with only nine games in the regular season.

During Wednesday morning’s call, Gunn mentioned he was looking at options to fill the gap on the schedule, one of those being a school Centennial previously tried to negotiate a contract. That school was Helix, which is the San Diego Section’s defending Open Division champion. Helix only had nine regular-season games on its 2020 schedule and had an open date Sept. 4.

Gunn received a call from Helix on Wednesday afternoon asking if the Huskies would travel to La Mesa for the game. Gunn spoke with Centennial coach Matt Logan, and the contract was inked by 1 p.m. The game currently is set for 7 p.m. but might get moved up because of Labor Day weekend.

“We get to play a strong opponent, but most important we got the schedule filled,” Gunn said.

Susan Scott
Susan Scott contributes to our Sports/Games section. She is a sports enthusiast and brings energy and warmth to the team with her constant quips and snippets from the sporting world. Her dedication to sports leaks into her work as well. Her stories are unique perspectives into the sporting world that take the ordinary man into the shoes of the athletes. She is a talented sportsperson herself, with many accolades under her belt already. What stops her from becoming a professional athlete is her inclination towards writing for sports more than sports itself !

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