Sitting at 0-5 and having lost each game by at least 25 points, the Knights were just trying to maintain respectability within 6AAAAAA.
But the bye week provided a much needed break, and Centennial (3-5 overall, 3-2 in region play) came out of the off-week looking like one of the strongest teams in the region — winning three straight games in dominant fashion and jumping right back into the playoff picture in Region 6.
“I can’t really pinpoint one thing or one moment that led to the turnaround, I just know that we were 0-5 and everyone was miserable,” said first-year Centennial coach Jeff Carlberg. “We really had two options at that point as coaches. We could beat the devil out of them at practice or back off and make things fun again.”
Carlberg chose the latter, giving his guys a chance to regain their legs and confidence.
The Knights also used the bye to improve their understanding of Carlberg’s defense and have reaped the rewards ever since.
After allowing 42, 34, 52, 49 and 40 points in their first five weeks, the Knights held then undefeated Lambert to just seven points in a 26-7 win Oct. 12. Centennial followed with impressive defensive showings in wins over South Forsyth (22-10) and North Forsyth (27-9) and in a blink of an eye find themselves a game out of first place in region play.
“Defensively we are playing miles and miles better than we were to start the year and that has really been the catalyst for us,” said the Centennial coach. “Lloyd Glenn, Lorenzo McWilliams, Caleb Howard and Reggie Ben-Asemoto have been great on our defensive line. Then in the secondary we are playing with more confidence and the kids have really been able to pin their ears back and fly around.”
With a strong defense to rely on the offense has improved its efficiency too. Quarterback Chase Rosenberg and Christian Robinson have hooked up for seven touchdowns in the three-game winning streak and Centennial is averaging over 25 points per game during that stretch.
“To come from where we were four weeks ago to where we are now, it’s just exciting. The kids are walking down the hall with their heads held high again and they are excited because they know they have a chance at the playoffs,” said Carlberg. “I don’t know all the different scenarios, but if we keep winning we’ll be in there.”
Centennial’s season will wrap with games at Alpharetta (5-3, 4-1) this Friday and at Chattahoochee (4-3, 3-2) next Thursday. A win in either game could push them into the playoffs and a pair of wins could move them as high as the second seed.