The names change each week for the Althoff Crusaders and the area’s most prolific offense, but the numbers remain just as mind-blowing every time.
On Friday night it was Jaylon Bester’s turn to grab a bit of the spotlight in a 59-26 South Seven Conference victory over Centralia as he scored on a 99-yard run and also returned a kickoff 85 yards for another touchdown.
Top-ranked Althoff (5-0 overall, 2-0 in the South Seven) churned out 604 yards of offense, including 348 yards rushing, against a Centralia team (4-1, 1-1) that had outscored its opponents 92-0 in the first quarter and 162-13 in the first half.
The Crusaders led 24-0 after one quarter and 38-6 at the half. It’s been that kind of season for Althoff’s high-octane NASCAR offense and Friday, Bester had his gas pedal jammed to the floor.
He took a handoff at the 1-yard line midway through the second quarter, found a hole and sprinted across the maroon-and-gray turf at Lindenwood Stadium until he reached the end zone.
“I told him just to get the ball out for us so we could get comfortable and he took it to the house,” said Althoff coach Ken Turner, whose team is fourth in the Class 4A state rankings. “The guys on the sideline and Malik (Easley) were saying he’s gonna take it to the house. He took it 99 yards and nothing these kids do shocks me.”
“The line just opened up the hole and I just took it,” said Bester, who had 189 yards rushing at halftime with the 99-yard TD a big chunk of his total. “They did a great job up front and I just saw the crease.”
On his 85-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter, Bester again flashed his speed and elusiveness.
“They were kicking it opposite of our blocking, so it was kind of hard for me to go to the blocking side,” he said. “Luckily it worked out for me.”
KEY PLAYS CONTINUED
Althoff’s lead was 17-0 late in the first quarter when Centralia’s Javon Williams tossed what appeared to be a 25-yard TD pass to Brodric Green. Althoff junior C.J. Coldon negated the TD when he alertly knocked the ball loose for a turnover.
Coldon made another big stop early in the second quarter, flying in at the last second and hauling down the Orphans’ Keshawn Marshall at the Althoff 1-yard line on fourth-and-goal to get the ball back for the Crusaders.
On offense, Coldon had six catches for 132 yards and a TD.
“That’s what he is,” Turner said. “He’s a playmaker, that’s why he’s the only guy that plays on both sides of the ball. We expect him to do those things - and that’s what he does.”
It was another big night for Althoff quarterback Jordan Augustine, who was a razor-sharp 14-for-16 for 256 yards and four TDs while also tacking on a 20-yard TD run. Two scoring passes went to Keenen Young while Jordan Goodwin and Coldon caught one each.
ORPHANS HAVE NO ANSWER
Centralia got 105 yards rushing and three TD passes from Williams, including two to Deven Toennies. The Orphans simply didn’t have enough firepower to stay close.
“They’re a juggernaut offensively,” Centralia coach Ray Kauling said. “I don’t think that you can come up with enough superlatives for what they were able to do offensively. We really didn’t help ourselves there at the start of the game (with a turnover).
“We put them in a good situation to take a big lead and from there on it was Katie bar the door.”