CENTER -- An ankle injury slowed Carthage junior running back Tevin Pipkin for a couple of games during the latter portion of the non-district schedule, but he showed no signs of it Friday night.

Buoyed by a passing attack that completed 13 of 15 first-half attempts, Pipkin and Carthage's offensive line imposed their will in a 45-29 victory in the "C-Town Showdown" to spoil Center's homecoming and a shot at an undefeated season.

Carthage (6-2, 2-0) has won 10 of the last 11 meetings with Center (7-1, 1-1) and takes a 44-22-2 all-time advantage against the Roughriders. Carthage has won 43 of 51 meetings since 1950.

Pipkin carried 29 times for a season-high 218 yards and two touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder gained 110 yards on 12 first-half carries and 108 yards on 17 second-half carries. Junior quarterback Blake Bogenschutz finished 14 of 20 for 200 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception to complement the Dawgs' big night on the ground.

Pipkin had his first lost fumble of the year in the second quarter, but responded after that, carrying 20 times for 162 yards and two scores the rest of the way.

"I knew I had to run the ball against these guys. I just wanted to help my team," Pipkin said. "(The offensive line) has gotten way better.

"It's always good to get a win, but we've got to put it behind us and get ready for next week. Gotta keep moving forward."

Surratt said the Carthage tailbacks read their linemen's blocks better than they have lately to spark what was possibly Carthage's most well-rounded offensive performance of 2012.

"I thought our backs helped our linemen," Surratt said. "We felt like we've had a lot of holes all year and our running backs have been really having their shoulders turned to the sidelines more often than not. Not because they're scared. They're tough. But our run fits weren't there offensively. We got that corrected and I think you saw that tonight."

Bogenschutz completed 10 consecutive passes during a 144-yard first half. He made his lone second-half completion count on a 56-yard play-action touchdown strike to junior Tee Goree, who caught five passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. That touchdown strike gave Carthage a 38-21 lead with 9:21 left in the game.

Pipkin's bruising 19-yard touchdown run with 1:06 left in the second quarter finished a four-play -- all run -- 66-yard drive that gave Carthage a 21-7 lead. After Jimmy Gonzalez's buzzer-beating 43-yard field goal that took the game to halftime, Carthage again went to the ground in the third, running nine times in a row on a 47-yard drive set up by the first of sophomore Bryian Bolton's two interceptions. Pipkin carried seven times for 37 yards, including a four-yard touchdown run, on the drive for a 31-14 advantage with 1:23 left in the third.

But Center never relented. Carthage had a couple of second-half opportunities to deliver the knockout blow, but the Roughriders stayed in the game with senior running back K.J. Garrett, who had a big second half to finish with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries. Garrett gained 109 yards on 18 second-half carries, and the late third-quarter ejection of Texas A&M-committed Carthage defensive tackle Isaiah Golden helped Garrett's momentum. The 5-foot-9, 178-pounder had 83 yards on 10 carries after Golden's ejection, but only 66 yards on 23 carries with Golden in the game.

"K.J.'s deal, and it's happened every game this year, he just keeps going," said Center coach Kevin Goodwin. "The engine just keeps rolling and rolling, and I honestly believe he starts wearing people down. Our line loves the fact that if they get on them and get people in the right position, he's going to make things happen."

Center stayed alive in the fourth thanks to sophomore Johnny Shaw's red-zone interception, which led to a 13-play, 93-yard touchdown drive capped by sophomore Dalton Horton's 15-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass to senior Tony McCollister that cut Carthage's lead to 38-29 with 4:29 left after Horton's two-point run.

Carthage then leaned on its running game. With Center out of timeouts, the Bulldogs ran the final 4 1/2 minutes off the clock thanks to eight consecutive Pipkin runs for 45 yards and Bolton's nine-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-2 as time expired.

Carthage's win sets the stage for another District 20-3A showdown next Friday, when Carthage hosts Jasper (6-1, 1-0), which has held its last three opponents to seven total points.

Surratt pointed to eight penalties for 77 yards -- including four personal fouls and the aforementioned ejection -- and Center's 12-for-20 third- and fourth-down conversion performance as reasons for concern.

"Anytime we give up 29 points we're not very happy with that. We had them off the field several times on drives and we give up third-and-long, fourth-and-15," Surratt said. "Penalties killed us. We didn't play great Carthage football, and if we continue to play dumb football and get a lot of penalties, we're not going to play very long (in the playoffs)."

Horton was 10-for-20 for 78 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Ingram led Center with six grabs for 43 yards. Junior athlete DeJalen Preston had a two-yard, early-fourth TD run. Senior defensive lineman Chase Mayfield had a sack and senior defensive back Darron Bolton recovered a fumble.

Carthage junior defensive end Mario McCain had three tackles for loss. Carthage outgained Center 452-321.

Center aims for a bounceback next Friday at Huntington. Goodwin liked his team's effort against Carthage, but emphasized that simply hanging around with Carthage for four quarters was not the Roughriders' goal.

"We kind of thought we were a pretty good team. You can't just fall into 7-0. Everyone was kind of putting it as a measuring stick and all of that. I never put it as a measuring stick because when we walked in last Saturday we put a plan together to try to win this game," Goodwin said. "As long as we're taking care of ourselves and not shooting ourselves in the foot, I think we'll be a pretty good team."

Center's Tony McCollister scores on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Dalton Horton that cut Carthage's lead to 38-29 with 4:29 left in Friday's game. (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

Carthage 45, Center 29
Roughrider Stadium, Center
Carthage -- 14 10 7 14 -- 45
Center -- 7 0 7 15 -- 29

First quarter
CAR -- Tee Goree 18 pass from Blake Bogenschutz (kick failed) -- 6:22
CAR -- Kolby Blissett 7 pass from Bogenschutz (Trent Jackson run) -- 4:59
CEN -- K.J. Garrett 4 run (Luis Garcia kick) -- 0:13
Second quarter
CAR -- Tevin Pipkin 19 run (Jimmy Gonzalez kick) -- 1:06
CAR -- Gonzalez 43 field goal -- 0:00
Third quarter
CEN -- Garrett 1 run (Garcia kick) -- 9:53
CAR -- Pipkin 4 run (Gonzalez kick) -- 1:23
Fourth quarter
CEN -- DeJalen Preston (Garcia kick) -- 11:12
CAR -- Goree 56 pass from Bogenschutz (Gonzalez kick) -- 9:21
CEN -- Tony McCollister 15 pass from Dalton Horton (Horton run) -- 4:29
CAR -- Bryian Bolton 9 run (Gonzalez kick) -- 0:00

CAR                    CEN
First downs                      20                        24
Rushes-Yards               38-252                45-247
Pass Yards                       200                      74
Comp.-Att.-Int.             14-20-1              10-22-2
Penalties-Yards              8-77                    7-60
Fumbles-Lost                    4-2                      2-0
Punts-Average               1-45.0               2-35.0

INDIVIDUAL
Rushing -- Carthage: Tevin Pipkin 29-218, Bryian Bolton 2-14, Tee Goree 1-12, Blake Bogenschutz 5-4, isaiah Golden 1-4. Center: K.J. Garrett 33-149, Jerenzic Evans 3-55, Tony McCollister 1-29, Dalton Horton 5-15, Darron Bolton 1-1, DeJalen Preston 3-(-2).
Passing -- Carthage: Blake Bogenschutz 14-20-1 200. Center: Dalton Horton 10-20-2 78, K.J. Garrett 0-1-0, Shaquille Ingram 0-1-0.
Receiving -- Carthage: Tee Goree 5-114, Okeeron Rutherford 3-35, Kolby Blissett 3-29, Payton Klysen 2-11, Tevin Pipkin 1-11. Center: Shaquille Ingram 6-43, Tony McCollister 3-41, K.J. Garrett 1-(-6).