Central Football Hoping for Growth in Off-Season

CENTRAL%27S+2020-2021+FOOTBALL+SEASON+COMES+TO+A+CLOSE+--+Central+High+School%27s+football+team+comes+together+after+the+team%27s+wins+against+Sequoyah.+

Karleigh Schwarzl

CENTRAL’S 2020-2021 FOOTBALL SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE — Central High School’s football team comes together after the team’s wins against Sequoyah.

Karleigh Schwarzl, Sports Editor

As the coaches and players look back at the 2020-21 season, they realize that year did not go as expected. In a year of unprecedented times and uncertainty, the fate of the season had been unclear. In the second semester of the 2019-20 school year, spring sports had been cancelled. Coaches and players sat in fear throughout the season, not knowing when or if a similar cancellation would occur. Thankfully, Central football was able to play their season without any COVID-19 related interference on their part. From the lights, to the crowd, to the student section, this chapter of the class of 2021 is coming to a close.

“This senior class did an exceptional job of leading this program through a time of uncertainty. They never wavered on the commitment to the program and to aide in leading a young team,” stated Coach Curt Jones.

With restrictions from COVID-19, the Pounders could not get a jump start on the season. This affected the football program as they could not continue with the usual pre-season weight lifting and training. Missing out on crucial time in the weight room can make or break a team in the long run.

This season there were 16 starting sophomores as the Central football program is in a stage of rebuilding. The team lost their starting Sophomore quarterback in the first game of the season. This, in turn, forced the team to come together as a unit, rallying around Freshman Evan Schwarzl.

“When you hand the keys over to a freshman I feel that is a defining moment for the season,” stated Coach Jones.

From a purely record standpoint, this year did not look good, but the team looks to improve upon this as they rebuild. Something that is not shown by the Pounders’ record is their steady improvement throughout the season. Central;s offense began to cut down on mental mistakes and drive killing penalties. Defensively, the Pounders came a long way, and by the end of the season, the team began to create turnovers and finish tackles.

Over the course of the season, players began to step up and set the standard for their teammates. On the offensive line, Senior Kenny Shadden was a key player; he stepped up as a leader while holding the line. Sophomores Londen Martin and Chris Nichols were important players for Central’s defense. Martin had 72 solo tackles, 39 assists and eights tackles for a loss. Nichols had 36 solo tackles, 19 assists, 13 tackles for a loss, along with seven sacks. Junior Michael Watson stood out on both sides of the ball. Watson lead the team in rushing yards with 726 yards, but he also finished the season with 12 solo tackles, nine assists, and one tackle for loss. Offensively, the duo of Evan Schwarzl and Junior Tyi Mosley were key this season. Schwarzl achieved 110 completions for 1265 passing yards and five touchdowns. Tyi Mosley completed 50 receptions for 571 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Heading into the 2021-22 season, Central’s football program sits in anticipation, where they will no longer be looked at for having a young team. Next season, the program will boast a team full of juniors and seniors, and they will hopefully have a full off-season in the weight room. The Pounders have their eyes set on the growth.

“The potential that we have and what we can do is what I am most excited for. From the captains and leaders from the class of 2021, they have taught me so much along with what has been passed down. I am ready to learn from this season and grow as a team going into this next season,” stated Michael Watson.

Readers can view the latest sports updates on the sports center page. This is where schedules, scores, and rosters will be posted. You may even see where these seniors end up going into their 2020-2021 seasons.