Corona Centennial’s dominance of the Big VIII League is evidenced by the fact that it had won 52 straight league games dating to 2009 before Friday night, with its last loss coming that year on a one-point decision to Norco.
The Huskies welcomed the rival Cougars to their home field in a prime-time TV game that was billed as a having the potential to be a high-scoring thriller.
The only team that left thrilled was Centennial.
No. 3-ranked Centennial didn’t slip up as it did in 2009, scoring early and often to take a 61-23 win over Norco, extending its league winning streak to 53 games, its winning streak over Norco to 10 games, and put itself in prime position for another league title.
Huskies running back Nicholas Floyd was the catalyst, finishing with five touchdown runs and 105 yards on the ground.
Defensively, Miguel Bautista set the tone with four sacks of Shane Illingworth, who came into Friday’s game with 31 touchdown passes, through the first 21/2 quarters, holding the talented signal caller to just 145 yards through the air with no touchdowns.
Centennial (6-2, 3-0) dropped 40 points in the first half and made it look quite easy, scoring on all five of its first-half drives.
The Huskies struck first on a three-yard run from Floyd, and after a quick three-and-out by Norco (6-2, 2-1), the Huskies capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive with a three-yard quarterback keeper by Carter Freedland to take a 13-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Centennial’s third drive of the first half was a 12-play, 85-yard drive which was polished off with a 10-yard touchdown run from Floyd, giving the Huskies a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter.
No. 21 Norco got on the board at the 8:20 mark of the second as Illingworth completed three quick passes to set up a two-yard run from Fernando Chairez, cutting Centennial’s lead to 20-7.
But the Cougars defense again had no answer for the Centennial offense as quarterback Ala Mikaele navigated an efficient scoring drive with completions of 24 and 25 yards to Gary Bryant, which set up Floyd’s third short-yardage touchdown run of the night and giving the Huskies a 26-7 lead with 5:50 left in the first half.