By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- With almost the entire roster returning from last year's 10-3 squad, there's good reason for Central to have a great feeling about this season.
The Falcons return nine starters on both sides of the ball and have 20 seniors on this year's team.
Central coach Mike Yew said he knows everybody will be gunning for them this season.
"Obviously we've been in the Bull Run [District] for two years, we've had some success," Yew said. "Obviously when you win the league, everyone wants to beat you. I don't expect anything different, I don't expect anything less. We've challenged our kids to rise to that occasion because we're going to get pretty much everyone's best punch every Friday night."
Senior Hayden Bauserman is back to lead the way at quarterback. Last year Bauserman threw for 2,443 yards and 24 touchdowns.
"He's done a lot of things for us at quarterback the last two years," Yew said of Bauserman. "He's physically matured and emotionally matured. His sophomore year he could get pretty upset, pretty quick and he let things bother him, where last year he kind of let things roll off his back and he matured. I think this year as a captain again he just really seems to be going with the flow, and doing everything he has to do to make himself better and his teammates around him better."
Senior Daniel Molina is back after missing the last five games of last season with a torn meniscus. Before the injury, Molina had rushed for 901 yards. Senior fullback Hamilton Argueta is also back at fullback, where he has started the last two seasons.
The Falcons return all but one starter on a very strong offensive line. Josh Gum, Jacob Unger, Miguel Argueta and Brandon Phillips are all back. Yew said Caleb Cook will likely move into the other starting spot on the offensive line.
Kolton Poston returns at tight end, where he was also the team's leading receiver. He will be a four-year starter and had 50 receptions for 635 yards last year.
The Falcons have plenty of depth at wide receiver this season. They return Sam Cornman, Travis Cooper, Zach Herbaugh, Justin Bauserman and Jacob Runion. Junior Tommy Caison also transferred in from Strasburg, which will give quarterback Hayden Bauserman lots of options each Friday night.
The Falcons have just as much depth on the defensive side of the ball.
Gum, Phillips and Cook all return on the defensive line, and Yew said senior Thomas Peacemaker will probably be the other starter.
"He's kind of an undersized one, but he's pretty quick," Yew said of Peacemaker. "We're hoping he can wreak some havoc in there, disrupt some plays."
Poston, Hamilton Argueta and Jonathan Feaster all return at linebacker. Central has plenty of depth in the secondary as well. They return three all-district selections in Justin Bauserman, Cooper and Herbaugh. Caison will also see playing time in the defensive backfield.
"We're going to try to figure out what is the best 11 we can put on the field to be the best team that we can be," Yew said.
The Falcons lost to Essex 48-28 last year in the third round of the Group A, Division 2 playoffs. Central has moved up to Division 3 this season, but the team still has good reason to have high goals.
Yew said his goal is the same as it is every year.
"My expectations never change from year to year," Yew said. "My expectations are us as a staff to put out the best program and best team on that field. And then everything else usually takes care of itself. Obviously we want to win a district title. We want to win a regional title. We want to win a state title. We're no different than anybody else in the state, but we want to put the best product that we can put out here as coaches, and as long as we do our job the best we can things usually have a way of taking care of themselves."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org