By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- Success breeds success, and Central coach Mike Yew is finding out it also breeds more depth.
Central's football program has had back-to-back strong seasons, and on Monday the team had 53 players show up for the first day of practice. Last year the Falcons only had 35 on the team. Yew said adding a B-team schedule this season also may have helped the Falcons' numbers grow.
"Those are good numbers," Yew said of having 53 come out for the team. "You get some success under your belt, and I think adding a B game schedule has been a big part of getting these young kids to play. We've added six B games on our schedule.
"[Having a B team] is just good for the sophomores, especially the ones that are young and haven't fully developed yet. In our case, we have some sophomores that probably could play, but we're returning a big senior class."
The Falcons only had eight seniors last year, but had 20 juniors many of who were starters.
Yew said the Falcons are returning nine starters on both offense and defense.
Central also got a boost right before the evening practice with two transfers. One is from California, while the other is rising junior Tommy Caison, who is transferring from Strasburg.
The players are very enthusiastic about the upcoming season and we're very happy to be back practicing.
"It's a rush," Central rising senior running back Daniel Molina said. "It's just like 'oh my god it's football season again.' Getting ready to go out there and play some football. It's just a great feeling."
It's an especially nice feeling for Molina, who missed the last five games of the season with a torn meniscus.
"I'm really excited to see how I'm going to do, and how my knee is going to hold up for me," Molina said. "I'm excited to play. It's been way too long."
The senior class has been enjoying success since they came in as sophomores, and with one last year to go they all have high hopes and expectations.
Central rising senior quarterback Hayden Bauserman said the seniors are very tight and are ready for a big year.
"Everybody's been talking about our class since we were in eighth grade, about how big we were and the talent we have," Bauserman said. "This is the time to really show what we're made. We've been playing with each other since we were little and nobody's really backed out, we've all been together. So we have high expectations for ourselves, and we know the younger guys can kind of fill in the holes that we lost from last year."
Central reached the second round of the playoffs two years ago, and won the Bull Run District title outright. Last year they were part of a three-way tie for the district title, and reached the third round of the playoffs, making them one of the final eight teams in Division 2.
This year if the Falcons make the playoffs they will be in Division 3. Despite their recent success, they could be a bit of an underdog in a division with bigger schools.
"[There will be] bigger schools and harder teams, but I feel like we can handle anything because of the group of kids we got," Molina said. "I kind of feel like that by the time the season is over people are going to know who we are -- which is a good thing.
"They'll know what Central football is all about."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org