The Centennial defense sought a stronger finish after giving up a combined 25 points in the fourth quarter in its first two games this season.

The result: a near-flawless performance in a 16-0 shutout at Anoka. The defense gave up only 29 yards, registered a safety and fueled the Cougars' first 3-0 season start since 2011.

"We wanted it more than Anoka," senior defensive lineman Mitch Wlaschin said. "That led us to a win and allowing 29 yards."

Eager to avoid a letdown after defeating defending Class 6A state champion Totino-Grace last week, Centennial made enough plays on offense and rode a dominant defense.

Senior quarterback Ryan Koob ran for both Centennial scores in the second quarter.

One play after converting on fourth-and-1, Koob got loose for a 23-yard touchdown. Centennial used an 11-play, 91-yard drive to double its lead just before halftime. Senior running back Sam Bonfe ran 44 yards to get his team to the Anoka 38-yard line. Koob finished the drive with a 1-yard dive on fourth down with 17 seconds on the clock.

"We had 325 yards of offense, and that was all the offensive line," Koob said.

Anoka (0-3) got its best chance in the third quarter as the defense recovered a fumble at the Centennial 34-yard line. But the Cougars turned the Tornadoes over on downs without permitting a single yard.

Not content to just prevent points, Wlaschin and senior linebacker Jarod Peterson tackled an Anoka ballcarrier in the end zone for a fourth-quarter safety and a 16-0 lead.

"We had two pretty close calls in the fourth quarter, and we didn't want to let that happen again," Wlaschin said.

Centennial welcomes St. Michael-Albertville next week in a battle of unbeatens.

"St. Michael-Albertville is a great team, and we can't wait to face them," Koob said. "It going to be a great game."