Central Drubs Mesa State, 48-14 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Central Drubs Mesa State, 48-14

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Central Washington University was firing on all cylinders Saturday, as the Wildcat football team scored via its passing game, kicking game, and special teams en route to a 48-14 rout of visiting Mesa State College at Tomlinson Stadium.

The win improved the Wildcats' record to 2-0 overall. Mesa State fell to 0-2 on the year.

Central, ranked 11th in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll, scored a pair of first-half touchdowns via its special teams, including a blocked punt return by Ryan Dyer (University Place/Life Christian Academy) that started the scoring at the 11:46 mark of the first quarter. Senior Courtney Smith (Stockton, Calif./East Union HS), who later scored on a 95-yard kickoff return, was credited with the blocked punt that helped give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead.

CWU extended its margin to 14-0 late in the first quarter as junior Johnny Spevak (Edgewood/Puyallup HS) caught the first of quarterback Mike Reilly's (Kalispell, Mont./Flathead HS) four touchdown passes -- a 39-yard reception at the 3:40 mark. Mesa State countered right back, scoring on its first offensive play after the Spevak score, as fullback Kris Means scampered 80 yards to put the Mavericks on the board at 14-7.

The Wildcats pushed ahead 21-7 on their next series, needing just seven plays to traverse 64 yards with Reilly connecting with Chris Rohrbach (Edmonds/Meadowdale HS) on a 24-yard pass play. The TD grab was the first of two on the day for Rohrbach, who also finished with career-highs of seven receptions and 112 yards.

Mesa State scored on the next series on a seven-yard pass from Phil Vigil to tight end Maurice Manley before Smith countered for the Wildcats with his kickoff return for a touchdown, and the Wildcats never looked back. Jared Bronson (Kent/Thomas Jefferson HS) capped the first-half scoring with a 13-yard TD reception with 38 seconds left.

In the second half, it was the Wildcat defense that stole the show, holding Mesa State to just 19 yards of total offense in the final 30 minutes including just four yards in the fourth quarter. Central had four sacks of Vigil in the second half and nine for the game, helping contain the Mavericks' senior signal-caller. The Wildcats also contained Bobby Coy, holding him to just 61 yards on the ground after a 201-yard outing in Mesa State's season opener.

Leading the defensive charge for the game was sophomore Adam Bighill (Montesano), who was in on eight tackles. Redshirt freshman Andrew Oney (Spanaway/Spanaway Lake HS) was credited with two of the Wildcats' nine sacks, while Dyer and sophomore Tyrell Nielsen (Woodland) added 1 1/2 sacks apiece. Nielsen led all players with 2 1/2 tackles for loss.

Junior Garrett Rolsma (University Place/Curtis HS) made two-of-three field goal attempts in the game, drilling both of his third-quarter tries from 31 and 21 yards. He also converted on all six of his P.A.T. attempts.

Offensively, Reilly completed 17 of 24 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns. The senior was also Central's top rusher with 64 yards on eight carries and he was not sacked in the contest. Rohrbach was his favorite receiver, with Spevak and Bronson each reeling in three passes.

The Wildcats finished with a commanding edge in total offense, nearly doubling the Mavericks with a 467-239 edge. Central also logged a combined 202 yards in kick and punt returns, averaging 28.9 yards per return between the two categories.

Mesa State had nearly identical numbers through the air and on the ground, totaling 128 passing and 111 rushing yards. Fueled by his 80-yard carry, Means was the Mavericks' leading rusher with 81 yards. Manley was Mesa State's top receiver with four receptions for 59 yards.

Central Washington (2-0, 1-0 GNAC) returns to the road and to conference play next Saturday (Sept. 13) when it visits Western Oregon. Mesa State plays its Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opener when it hosts New Mexico Highlands.
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