The Capital High football team has become known for its high-scoring spread offense.
Friday night at Dona Larsen Park, the Eagles showed their traditional strength defense can still rise to the occasion. Led by its black-helmeted Gurkhas, Capital stifled visiting Centennial for four quarters, amassing nine sacks and gobbling up three turnovers in a 26-0 victory.
Capital (7-2) allowed 122 yards of offense, racked up 13 tackles for loss and added a defensive touchdown. The Eagles play Madison at 5:30 p.m. next Friday in the first round of the 5A state playoffs at Pocatellos Holt Arena.
Shutouts in this league are rare, Capital coach Todd Simis said. Our defense was outstanding tonight.
Senior quarterback Makena Simis threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Senior tailback TJ Clarke (21 carries, 117 yards) and sophomore receiver Tarik Littlejohn (14 catches, 143 yards, TD) also had big nights, but penalties and miscommunications ended several promising drives.
We were a little up-and-down on offense, Simis said. Well have to clean that up because its the state playoffs now. This is what weve been working for since last December, and were ready to roll.
Centennial (4-5) gained 50 first-half yards in the face of the relentless Capital pass rush. The first quarter ended in a scoreless tie, but the Eagles broke through in the second on a 14-yard scoring pass from Simis to Marcel King Jr.
Capitals defense landed its most devastating punch minutes later when junior cornerback Josh Calhoun jumped in front of Evan Radkes pass, picked it off and raced 32 yards for a 13-0 lead. A 25-yard Conner Poulson field goal as time expired gave the Eagles a 16-0 halftime lead.
Capital kept the clamps on in the second half. The Eagles put together a methodical opening drive, marching 90 yards as the Patriots could not stop Littlejohn. The sophomore made four catches on the drive, capping it with a 30-yard, jump ball TD catch for a 23-0 lead.
I just tried to come off the line hard, run my routes and catch the ball, said Littlejohn, who did most of his damage on quick screen passes. It felt good to make some plays.
Poulson added a late 32-yard field goal, but the defense took care of the rest. Senior linebackers Zach Krishnek and Jaren Kahoiwai led the way as the Eagles had defenders in the Centennial backfield on seemingly every play.
We wanted to come out and lay the wood and represent the Gurkha pride, Krishnek said. We did exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted sacks, we wanted a defensive touchdown and we wanted a shutout, and that scoreboard says 26-0.
Junior tailback Joe Murphy led Centennial with 75 rushing yards on 10 carries.