from staff reports
WEST BRANCH — Traverse City Central took a "punch in the mouth," then responded with a 49-21 TKO over Ogemaw Heights in a Big North Conference football clash Friday night.
The Trojans (4-1, 3-0) bolted to an early 21-0 lead and seemed destined for an easy win. But the Falcons roared back to tie it in the second half before Central scored four unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
"We hit a stretch there where we were not playing with a lot of confidence," Central coach Tom Passinault said. "It was like we took our foot off the gas. To their (Flacons) credit, they battled back.
"We faced a lot of adversity in the second half, not a lot was going right, but then we steamrolled them in the fourth quarter. We took a punch in the mouth and came right back."
T.J. Schwannecke and T.J. Schepperly led the offense. Each scored three touchdowns, several on long runs. Ethan Campbell had the last score on a run from 35 yards to close it out.
A Trojan fumble late in the second quarter — deep in Central territory — ignited the Ogemaw Heights comeback. The Falcons took it in just before half to get on the board.
Two long touchdown runs in the second half knotted it.
"They had all the momentum," Passinault said.
Schepperly then led a long Trojan drive that put Central back on top for good.
The win sets up a showdown next Friday at Thirlby between league unbeatens Central and Traverse City West.
"We're excited," Passinault said. "We love this game."