SPENCER — As Centennial junior Luis Perez crossed the goal line with just more than two minutes remaining, the magnitude of what was happening began to hit the Bison.
Perez's 55-yard interception return for a touchdown capped Centennial's 21-2 playoff-clinching victory against rival John Marshall on Thursday at Star Spencer's Twidwell Stadium, causing a celebration just behind the end zone that did not stop until well after the game with the Britton Bowl trophy in hand.
Centennial is going to the playoffs for the first time in school history, finishing the regular season with a 6-4 record and 3-3 record in District 3A-3 to claim the final playoff spot.
“This is the biggest feeling in my life,” Perez said. “I will never forget this day. Knowing that we've always been the underdog, just to come out and get our first playoff spot is going to make us more hungry. I feel like this is going to build a foundation at Centennial.”
For the Bison, the win wasn't exactly pretty.
They opened the game strong with senior quarterback Malcolm Mitchell Jr. rushing for a 1-yard touchdown on the opening drive. Mitchell rushed four times for 70 yards on the drive in a display of what the Bison intended to do on offense.
The plan just never really worked the rest of the way as Centennial fumbled the ball nine times — losing three — and racked up 12 penalties for more than 100 total yards.
Centennial even allowed the game to get interesting when John Marshall's Sammie Kesse blocked a punt out of the end zone for safety in the third quarter, bringing the game within five at 7-2.