Football Preview 2016: Youth will be served for Falcons this season

Central assistant coach Rowdy Hoover works with linemen during a recent practice. The Falcons will have a young squad this season with 24 sophomores on the team. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK– Central football coach Mike Yew is in a familiar position this season.

The Falcons have a young squad with 24 sophomores on the team. It was just six years ago when Central had a large group of sophomores on the squad and that group went on to have a lot of success over the next three years.

“That year we started the season 1-4 and we ended up 5-5 and won a playoff game, and we got better as the season went on because those sophomores progressed,” Yew said. “I’m not saying we’re going to start 1-4. I’m not making any of those kinds of predictions. I’m just saying we will be as good as these young sophomores develop quickly. If they develop quickly, early, we can have a chance to be pretty good. If they develop later we’ll be good at the end of the season.”

The Falcons will have a lot of young players in the starting lineup, including potentially at quarterback. Yew said that Zeb Dyer was probably going to be the starting quarterback, but Yew also felt good with Colton Hutchinson playing as well.

The Falcons lost Hank Hoover, who ran for 1,854 yards last season, to graduation. Yew said he feels good with this year’s crop of running backs.

He said that seniors Carston Shockey and Marshall McAboy will see plenty of time at tailback with sophomore Shane Watson also getting some time there.

Yew said that senior Matt Bromley and sophomore Zach Abrams will play at fullback, with McAboy also possibly playing some at that position.

“We feel like in that mixture we have three guys that played the positon and give a pretty solid effort there,” Yew said.

Another strength of the Falcons could come at wide receiver. Yew said that junior Alonzo Charity, sophomore Kyle Clanton and senior Saxon Franklin should see plenty of playing time at wide receiver. Yew said that sophomore T.J. Williams has also been impressive at receiver.

“T.J. Williams is a sophomore that’s stepped up and had a real good summer,” Yew said. “We figure he can get into the mix as well as Nick Houghton.”

The Falcons have some key pieces returning on the offensive line. Senior Alex Sibert should lead the way on the line, he was an All-Bull Run District selection last year.

Yew said that junior Lee Schreiber will also be starting on the line along with senior Dominic Richel.

One place the Falcons will definitely have depth is on the defensive line. Yew said that they will have eight players who they can use on the defensive line.

He said the starters may change from week to week, depending on the opponent. Junior Jon Riggs and Watson are two of the players Yew said who will contribute on the defensive front.

Yew said that Bromley, Abrams and sophomore Dravon Bowman will see time at inside linebacker.

McAboy and sophomore Christian Spitler could be playing at outside linebacker. Yew said they were still tweaking things heading into the season opener as far as who might play where at times on defense.

He said that Clanton and Charity will be in the secondary and Shockey will either be in the secondary or at linebacker.

One area Yew doesn’t have to worry too much about is kicking as senior Cliff Croom returns this season.

Croom missed part of last season with an injury, but was one of the top kickers in the area his sophomore season.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com