On a night where he nearly rushed for 300 yards, all Althoff Crusaders senior Jaylon Bester would admit to at the end of the night was “getting gassed.”
Bester racked up big play after big play Friday, finishing the night with 331 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries in Althoff’s 40-21 South Seven Conference football victory over the Centralia Orphans.
Bester blew up in the first half, scoring on an early 48-yard TD run followed by two 45-yard trips to the end zone. He added a seven-yard TD in the second half and surpassed his previous season high of 285 yards against Mater Dei. After checking game film, Althoff coaches credited Bester with 331 yards.
“All the line needs to do for me is get a little seam, do a little blocking and I do my job as a running back to find the holes and make the right cuts,” said Bester, a Miami (Ohio) recruit.
Bester had several eye-opening runs Friday night, but was at his best when Althoff was facing an almost unheard of third-and-55 play at its own 20 yard line. Bester picked up the first down with a 73-yard tun through the Orphans defense and didn’t stop until he was finally hauled down at the Centralia 7-yard line.
“I was getting gassed, but I had to do what I had to do to get my team six points,” Bester said.
Althoff, the top-ranked Class 4A team in the state, improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the South Seven. Centralia (4-1, 1-1), ranked fourth in Class 5A, suffered its first defeat.
Bester and Althoff’s big-play capability, which included a 95-yard TD pass from Trey Mosley to C.J. Coldon, was the main reason for the Orphans’ defeat.
“Each week I know what this kid is going to bring to the table,” Althoff coach Ken Turner said of Bester. “The scary thing is he’s getting more carries now and he’s showing what he can do with the football. He’s a warrior, a very good running back and a tough kid. I’m going to keep feeding him throughout the year.”
Centralia coach Bobby Brenneisen was asked about Bester’s high rushing total.
“Is that what it is? I wasn’t counting but that’s a lot of yards and he’s a heck of a player,” Brenneisen said. “He’s going to be a heck of a player at the next level.”
Centralia quarterback Javon Williams was also impressive, running for 129 yards and two TDs and throwing for another score.
Tempers flared near the end of a game that featured 25 penalties on Althoff for 213 yards. Centralia was called for six penalties for 51 yards.
The Orphans left the field immediately after the game and the teams did not shake hands.
“Ugly game, a sloppy game with all the penalties,” Turner said. “It’s ridiculous, I’ve never been a part of anything like this.”
“We lost, that’s about all it comes down to,” Brenneisen said. “We didn’t go out there and pull out a ‘W.’”
The Orphans had the Crusaders pinned deep in their own end in the first quarter when quarterback Trey Mosley hit Coldon down the left sideline. Coldon threw a fake on his defender, then weaved his way in and out of traffic for a 95-yard touchdown to make it 13-0.
Coldon had four catches for 155 yards Friday.
Centralia struck back on a 6-yard TD pass from Williams to Jordan Maines, but Bester answered with a 45-yard TD run.
Edwyn Brown’s interception set up Bester’s next 45-yard TD run early in the second quarter to put Althoff up 26-7.
Using a great play-action fake, Williams kept the ball himself and ran right up the middle for a 57-yard touchdown wih 5:07 remaining in the first half. The extra point brought the Orphans to within 26-14.