By Haley Stesiak
Cienega’s undefeated season came to an end Friday night as the #1 seed in Division 5A fell to Centennial 56-21 in Tucson.
The Coyotes jumped out to an early lead with two big touchdown runs by junior running back Zidane Thomas in the first quarter.
Thomas recorded a third rushing touchdown in the second to help power Centennial to a 28-7 lead at the half.
“I give the offensive line and receivers all the credit,” Thomas said on the field after the game. “They blocked and I just ran the ball.”
The powerful inside runner who flashed speed on the edge couldn’t be stopped finishing the game with four rushing touchdowns, while keeping the Bobcats on their heels.
Centennial’s strong first half forced Cienega to play the Coyotes’ game.
The Bobcats tried to push for a comeback late in the third when UofA commit Jamarye Joiner threw a long touchdown pass to Terrell Hayward but the Coyote defense stayed dominate.
Joiner threw two interceptions in the second half giving the Coyotes all the momentum they needed to run away with the win.
“It feels great to be headed back to the championship,” Thomas said. “A lot of the players that graduated are going to be there, we have to show out for them.”
This year’s state appearance will mark the Coyotes sixth in school history. The past five appearances have all ended with a championship title.
“We have a chance to make history, I don’t think any team has three-peated twice…it’d be something special,” head coach Richard Taylor said.