By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- Central returns nine starters on both sides of the ball, and for the most part that is a good thing. However, Central coach Mike Yew said that the familiarity that everyone had with what they are doing has also led to a problem during the first two weeks of practice.
"It's nice because we do know [the system and plays]," Yew said. "But I think our knowing it was our complacency. We were very complacent the first two weeks and very just kind of going through the motions. We're not doing much new, if anything, and our guys were kind of going through the motions, and I think even our coaches were going through the motions. We made a decision [Monday night] we were going to pick it up. Our intensity was going to be higher, our expectations were going to be greater and the next two weeks are going to be pretty intense leading up to the John Champe game."
Yew said the Falcons had their best practice in over a week on Tuesday, and he thinks that the intensity will remain high the rest of the preseason.
Yew said they didn't get as much out of the scrimmage with Page County last week as they would have liked. Yew said the Panthers are small in numbers and had some injuries, and the Falcons didn't get as many reps as they would have liked. He said he's hopeful the team will pick up the intensity on Thursday when they scrimmage at Brentsville at 6 p.m.
"We just need to raise up our intensity level," Yew said. "I think what we're looking for and our guys are looking for is just a more intense scrimmage all the way around. A little more banging, a little more speed."
NEWEST ADDITION: Not only does Central have nine starters back on both offense and defense, they have added Tommy Caison, who transferred from Strasburg early in the season.
Caison started both ways for the Rams last year and will certainly add to the Falcons' already talented roster. Caison had seven receptions for 240 yards and five touchdowns as a receiver last year for the Rams. He also had one interception for the Rams as a defensive back.
Yew said Caison has fit in real well with everything they're doing at Central, and the transition has went smoothly.
"He's doing great. He's a good kid," Yew said. "We're excited to see Tommy here at Central, happy to have him. He's going to do well in probably all three sports. We're glad he's on our sidelines."
GETTING A LEG UP: Two of the few positions that were open at the start of the season for Central were at kicker and punter. Jordan Umstead has graduated and is now kicking for Shenandoah University.
Senior Josh Gum and junior Eric Ventura will share the placekicking duties.
"Josh [Gum] having never done it before made four out of five [extra points] in our scrimmage, and really the one he missed was just a hair off," Yew said. "The more reps, the more practice he gets, he'll be fine."
Yew said Cooper will be fine as the punter, and he said he's always looking to have one of his skill guys handle the punting duties.
"I wouldn't want to have a lineman as punter unless he's all-world," Yew said. "You gotta have a skill kid back there so that the fake is always a threat. If you have a lineman back there the threat of a fake is diminished greatly."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org