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Central has whole new mindset going into 2022

Central Football Practice Helmet. Photo by Cheryl Clanton.

BROOKSVILLE- The new mindset behind the Central Bears football team is clear under Head Coach Jim Pusateri. All indications are pointing the football program in the right direction after the Bears’ spring performance against Tenoroc. Central was able to pull off an impressive 24-14 victory over Tenoroc, showing signs that the Bears are inching themselves closer to being a team that can compete.

Central went 0-10 last season in Pusateri’s first go around, but one thing the former Cornerstone Charter High School head coach said is that the team would do a lot of throwing the football and he made good on that promise. The Bears threw the football around the yard, with the team attempting 157 passes compared to 209 runs.

Though the Bears still ran the ball more than they threw it, Central made sure to be a lot more balanced on the offensive side of the ball and quarterback Evan Spears will start under center once again. Spears in 2021 threw for 890 yards and five touchdowns along with rushing for 226 yards.

Malachi Russell is back as the team’s top threat at receiver for the Bears, after catching 25 passes for 262 yards in 2021. The team, which started off spring football with 33 players out, has some playmakers they’re expecting to step up beyond just Spears and Russell. A key loss on both sides of the ball was Peyton Chauncey, who played at running back and linebacker.

Central enters the 2022 campaign like all teams in a new district thanks to the redistricting due to the new metro-suburban state series. The Bears will be playing in 2-Suburban, District 11 with the likes of Anclote, Hudson, Nature Coast and Weeki Wachee. With Nature Coast and Hudson seemingly the class of the district, Central will look to compete for wins versus Anclote and Weeki Wachee.

It’s a whole new mindset for a team that is aiming to turnaround what was once a competitive team in the mid-2000’s when former NFLer DuJuan Harris was a part of the program. Now the Bears look for respectability in 2022 and they could get it by winning some games under Pusateri’s watch.

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.