The Little Rock Central Tigers felt right at home Friday night.
Senior quarterback Jacob Howard completed 16 of 23 passes for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns, and the Tigers defeated Rogers Heritage 30-12 at Little Rock Christian's Warrior Field.
Central was forced to move its season-opening game from Quigley-Cox Stadium to Warrior Field because of ongoing renovations at Quigley-Cox. A new artificial turf has been installed at Quigley-Cox, but the concession stands and the restrooms are not complete.
Central Coach Ellis Register was pleased with his team's ability to play away from its home field and get its first victory since Sept. 16, 2016, against West Memphis.
"Preparation for this game was really good," Register said. "To have to load up at home and come out here and play, they just responded well to it. It's a big win for us. We feel like we're a little bit better than we were at this point last year.
"But it's just one game."
Register said he is not sure whether the Tigers (1-0) will get to play at Quigley-Cox Stadium on Sept. 15 against West Memphis. The Tigers travel to Bentonville West on Friday, and Register said a decision on the West Memphis game could be made in the next week.
Howard completed his two touchdown passes to senior wide receiver Donald Richardson. Richardson led the Tigers' receivers with 7 receptions for 98 yards.
Senior running back Jacorien Whitaker was making his first start for Central, rushing for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries.
Central took a 3-0 lead on the game's opening drive, as sophomore Keeling Baker made a 30-yard field goal at the 9:55 mark of the first quarter.
The Tigers made it 10-0 with 4:21 remaining in the first quarter. Howard's 22-yard pass to Richardson set up Whitaker's 10-yard touchdown run four plays later.
Rogers Heritage (0-1) cut the lead to 10-6 with 1:39 left in the first quarter on senior quarterback Trey Kitterman's 5-yard touchdown run.
But with 3:25 remaining in the second quarter, Central extended their lead to 10 points again, this time making it 16-6 with Whitaker's 25-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers led 16-6 at halftime and stretched their advantage to 23-6 with 5:56 remaining in the third quarter as Howard found Richardson in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.
After the Tigers' defense stopped Kitterman for no gain on fourth and 2 at the War Eagles 48, Central went 52 yards in six plays, culminating the drive with Howard's 30-yard touchdown pass with 1:02 left in the quarter to Richardson for a 30-6 lead.
Rogers Heritage Coach Tony Travis said the War Eagles couldn't overcome the Tigers' offense Friday.
"When we get behind, that 10-point lead felt like more than it was," Travis said. "It magnified it a little bit because doubt creeps in. We've got to remove that doubt and get us a win."
War Eagles senior running back Dylan Qualls, who finished with 107 yards on 19 carries, scored from 39 yards out with 6:45 left to play to pull his team within 30-12.
Kitterman completed 7 of 16 passes for 133 yards. Senior wide receiver Jay De La Rosa had five receptions for 88 yards.
Sports on 09/02/2017
Print Headline: LR Central scores 1st victory in while