Despite season, coaches remain hopeful
November 10, 2017
Last month, the football team finished one of the worst years in school history, sporting an 0-9 record with the average margin of defeat at 34.77 points. First year head coach Lance Griffin, who took over for Jay Ball, had a roster that only returned only four starters, and one that was plagued by injuries.
On offense, the Eagles were held to under 200 yards a game, and only scored more than 20 points once this season. They averaged 8.9 points per game. Central finished the year averaging 92.1 rushing yards a game, and averaged 3.2 yards per carry. The leading rusher was senior DJ Ware-Johnson who finished with 50 carries for 230 yards and a touchdown. Griffin said he would like to find, “consistency (and) cohesiveness with the offense.”
Through the air, the Eagles completed 47% of their passes with an average of 12.4 yards per completion as well as an average of 82.6 passing yards a game. They threw 7 interceptions to go along with six touchdowns. The leading passer was senior Richard Avila who was 30/74 for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Griffin said, “I think the biggest thing is finding consistency at the quarterback position, we started four different quarterbacks this year, and your offense is going to struggle with four different guys throughout the year.” The leading receiver was senior Jalen Harris who finished with 19 catches for 467 yards and 2 touchdowns. Harris also passed for 107 yards and a touchdown, as well as rushing for 107 yards.
The defense also struggled this year at times. They gave 43.7 points a game, and held their opponent to under 30 points twice this year. The Eagles picked off four passes and recovered seven fumbles. The leading tacklers were junior Zech Paladino, and senior Malachi Brown, who both finished with 35 tackles. D.J Ware-Johnson also intercepted two passes. Griffin said, “we need to make sure we tackle better next year, especially one on one tackling, we had guys in position, but they just missed the tackle.” Griffin also mentioned he would like to work on “creating more turnovers” as well.
Griffin holds an optimistic view for next season, as the team returns a lot more starters than this years squad. He said, “One of the things we worked this year was bringing a lot of experience back.” He hopes that the playing time some of the younger players had this year will be able to help them next year. Next year the Eagles will try to end a two year drought without making the state playoffs.