TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central guaranteed itself a winning season Friday night.
The Trojans, though, have a loftier goal in mind now — a playoff berth.
Central, 5-3, hosts Cadillac next Friday with a chance to punch its ticket into the post-season. That was made possible with a 28-20 Big North Conference win over Ogemaw Heights in the rain at Thirlby Field.
“What you want to do is make every game count and now we go into the final week and face an undefeated Cadillac team,” Central coach Tom Passinault said. “What a great way to end the (regular season) for our kids — with a chance to go to the playoffs.”
Ethan Campbell scored twice in the fourth quarter to help the Trojans subdue Ogemaw Heights. Campbell had a 51-yard run that setup a seven-yard scoring jaunt on his next carry, giving the Trojans a 21-7 lead with 9:11 left.
He then bolted 52 yards for a touchdown with 1:27 remaining after the Falcons had closed to within a score at 21-14.
Campbell, who had 27 yards rushing at half, finished with 180.
“I wasn’t reading the right holes. I wasn’t running to the right place,” he said of his first-half performance. “It clicked (in the second half).”
The Trojans, 3-2 in the Big North, never trailed, although the Falcons kept it interesting.
Central capitalized on a Falcon turnover in the first quarter to score the game’s only touchdown in the first half. Anthony Kratovil recovered a fumble at the 18 and two plays later Trojan quarterback Sean Williams scampered 17 yards for a touchdown.
Central’s defense, after allowing 51 yards on Ogemaw’s first drive, hunkered down and limited the Falcons to 59 yards the rest of the half.
The Trojans took a 14-0 lead when Drew Girard-Pampu went in from two yards out on the first possession of the second half. Ogemaw Heights only ran seven plays from scrimmage in the third quarter, but one was a 57-yard touchdown pass from Ben Hartley to Josh Awrey, cutting Central’s lead to 14-7.