BROOKSVILLE- After finding some early success in Year No. 1 under head coach Rob Walden, the Central Bears struggled mightily in the pandemic 2020 campaign.
Central went 0-6 in the coronavirus shortened season and had trouble competing with opponents week to week. The Bears scored just once all season long and yielded 240 points. Despite the abysmal season, the Bears are coming back this spring with renewed energy
“I feel pretty good about this group. We are still a young team, we have around 30 kids who consistently show up and work hard,” Walden said. “We are excited for Thursday and the upcoming season.”
Walden pointed out he has a young team and last season’s roster would point to that. Amongst the 32 players on last year’s team, only four of the players were seniors. Central returns a slew of players from last season, including Peyton Chancey (linebacker), Zack Buzze (linebacker), Kyle Gates (safety), Cody Williams (wide receiver), Corbin Cobb (quarterback), Solomon Smith (linebacker), Ryan Wood (offensive line) and Clint Huggins (offensive line).
Walden’s first season, in which the club went 3-7 and saw plenty of positives ahead with tailback Contae Cason a part of the club. Cason for his senior season transferred to Hernando and left the Bears searching for answers on the offensive side of the ball. Now Central has some pieces it can rely upon on both sides of the football.
On Thursday, Central will get its first crack at showing folks the Bears will be more competitive on May 20th when they take part in a 3-team jamboree at Central High School’s ‘Bears’ Den’. The jamboree will include Mount Dora and New Port Richey Gulf, which initially was going to face Hudson Fivay.
Central should have opportunities to be competitive against both teams, as both Mount Dora and Gulf finished the 2020 season with records below the .500 mark. With a group instilled with optimism heading into the spring, they’re hoping to exit and enter the summer hoping to add additional confidence that they can compete come the fall season. Only time will tell with this team.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo