By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Central's first game isn't until Sept. 3, and coach Mike Yew said having that extra week to get his team ready has been very helpful this preseason.
The Falcons are young at a lot of positions, and the extra time has been beneficial.
"We came in that first Monday and got some average, mediocre practices under our belt," Yew said. "Being young, we had a lot of teaching to do. [The second week] we saw a lot of improvement. The offense is really coming together. Our timing was much better."
The Falcons are trying to replace a lot on the offensive and defensive lines. They lost four players from the offensive line.
Yew said many of the players vying for spots on the line are young.
"We have about seven or eight kids trying for the four positions, including tight end," he said. "They've taken it on full speed. They've done a great job."
Central quarterback Matt Sherfey said he believes the offensive line in front of him will do just fine this season.
"You lose guys like Drew Flores, Nolan Burch and Jon Foster, it will be hard spots to fill," Sherfey said. "We have a couple younger guys to step in and we think they can do it. And you just have to have confidence in them."
Central has a lot back at the skill positions where Sherfey and his top two receivers, Sean Semones and Seth Wymer, will return for the Falcons.
Last year Sherfey threw for 1,861 yards, with the bulk of it going to Semones and Wymer. The Falcons ran for 1,085 yards as a team last year, but with several returners at running back that number could be higher this season.
Seth Mantz and Logan Hutchinson will see time at fullback, while Seth Bauserman and Brent Dorrin will play at tailback.
Yew said that he has confidence in all four of them. Hutchinson had 146 yards on 24 carries last year for Central and is the top returner. The Falcons will look to throw to their running backs some, as well. Last year Bauserman was fifth on the team with nine receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Last season the Falcons aired the ball out a lot, but Yew said he doesn't know if they will be more of a passing team or a running team this year.
"My goal is to do what we gotta do to win," Yew said. "Whether that's throw it 30, or run it 40, all I want is to win football games. If teams are going to give us the pass, we're going to throw it."
One player who should help the Falcons this season is senior Kohly Hawkins. The wide receiver is also going to see some time at running back this season.
Last year Hawkins had seven receptions for 75 yards, but Yew said his speed could really help the Falcons out of the backfield.
"Kohly's one of our faster kids," Yew said. "We want to give him a handful of touches and utilize his speed."
Hawkins has also moved from defensive back to linebacker this season, and Yew said he's made the transition really well. Yew said he wants the Falcons flying to the ball a little more on defense and Hawkins has helped increase their speed at linebacker.
Central went 6-4 last season, but finished third in the Shenandoah District and missed the playoffs. The Falcons have a strong nucleus of players returning, with 14 seniors on the team.
The team is confident about their chances this season.
"We're going to be good," Sherfey said. "There ain't no beating around the bush. I think we'll be all right. We always play in a strong district. We'll be competing this year along with everybody else. We'll see what happens."