- Local News
--By Staff Writer on --
COACH: Chris Bennett
LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 2-8
STARTERS RETURNING ON OFFENSE: 3
STARTERS RETURNING ON DEFENSE 2
With only five starters returning, Coach Chris Bennett will have a monumental rebuilding task in order to improve on last year’s 2-8 record.
The Bulldogs went back to square one in the spring, working on the fundamentals.
“Working on fundamentals isn’t that exciting, but it’s very necessary,” Bennett said. “It’s very exciting seeing kids compete. Competition brings out leadership, and I was able to see some of our young players stepping up to leadership roles.
Central has only three returning starters on offense — junior center Dee Kelly (6’2 220), junior quarterback Michael Branigan (5’11 175) and junior running back Shay Hollis (6’0 205). Branigan played running back last year and the Bulldogs hopes will depend largely on how well he makes the transition.
Hollis is a big back who plays fast. Running out of the Wing-T, he turned in a monster game against Chattahoochee last year, rushing for 180 yards.
But the real question mark is up front where Kelly is the only returning starter. Everyone else is going to have to mature quickly of the Bulldogs are going to be successful on offense.
“We are very young up front and need those players to gain experience and grow up fast,” Bennett said. “We have to control the ball on offense. Ultimately, we will go as far as our offensive line goes. I’m glad our center is coming back.
Bennett said he likes what he saw from the newcomers during the spring. One of the standouts appears to be sophomore Hunter Lamm, (6-2,270). Another is junior wide receiver Jeremiah Jones (6’3, 190)
In addition to nine new faces on the defensive unit, Central also has a new defensive coordinator in Bradley Foster, who moves over from Cherokee County.
Bennett said the new coach brings a real excitement to the defense. He has a get-to-the-football mindset,” Bennett said. “I’m impressed with what I’ve seen from the defense. Players like senior defensive lineman Ruben Rubio have worked hard.”
Rubio is the 6′, 310 pound senior nose guard who will anchor the forward wall and the only returning starter on defense along with junior linebacker Jake Gorczyca (5’10, 195).
A couple of newcomers that expect to see plenty of playing time are junior defensive backs Jack Longmore (5’10, 175) and A.J. Zlatic (5’9, 185)
The Bulldogs will be the only Forsyth County school in the new region this year but they will play South Forsyth and North Forsyth in non region games. This will mark the first time Central has played North in five seasons.
“We expect to compete with every team we play. There isn’t one team that we don’t want to play.”