When the two teams first met on Sept. 28, it took a last-second Hail Mary for Champlin Park to squeeze past Centennial.
The Rebels didn't need quite as much drama to win the second time around.
All they needed was senior tailback Michael Sales.
Sales rushed 21 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter, and third-seeded Champlin Park beat No. 6 Centennial 35-27 in the first round of the Class 6A, Section 5 playoffs Friday at home.
"It was definitely a little better than last time; last time was a nail-biter," said Champlin Park quarterback Trevor Garrison.
Garrison's 67-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Bryce Marquardt helped seal the win with Sales on the sideline. "This was still a close one, but it was nice that we controlled it," he said.
Sales scored the team's first three touchdowns and set up the fourth after a 79-yard, third-quarter run brought Champlin Park to the Centennial 6. He injured his ankle on the next play, but the Rebels converted on a run by Garrison, giving them a two-touchdown lead.
Centennial never closed the gap.
"[Sales] had some really big runs for us, because we were slipping and sputtering for a while at the beginning," Rebels head coach Mike Korton said. "Hopefully, his ankle will be all right. It's the same one that was bothering him coming into the game."
Garrison finished the night 7-for-9 for 114 yards passing for Champlin Park (6-3). He also ran for 71 yards to go with his two touchdowns.
Senior running back Michael Diggins carried the load for Centennial (3-6), gaining 133 yards on 28 carries and scoring three of the Cougars' four touchdowns.