Central enters a ‘new dawn’ 1-0 on the ’23 season
Central won a game last night which, more than anything, demonstrates the strides the program has made under Coach Manning and his staff. The Hopkins Central of old would have lost last night’s game a hundred times straight, and yet, we opened the ’23 season with a pivotal win.HB Lyon, Scouting Director, KPGFootball
We picked “The Storm” to win by a single point prior to last night’s game. Central won by six, 20-14. However, as significant to their winning is how the win occurred.
First of all, had we told you Central would gain 120-or so yards through the air and rush for around 100-or so, what would have been your projected score against an opening opponent like Caldwell County? Would you have had The Storm weathering such an offensive output?
Remember, Caldwell County is annually among the best teams competing at the 2A-Classification and a program which has been to the “Promised Land” and won championships. But for Dr. Mike Seibert’s dual-county connection, who knows if the series would have been contracted?
The game was a slugfest. Defensively, Zayden Parker (’25) hounded the Tigers offensive backfield, and particularly its QB, tallying 3-sacks, by our count, and Reece Belt (’24) started evincing why he is among the more talked about edge defenders in the western end of Kentucky.
Offensively, the Storm just never seemed to gain control of the scrimmage line netting a quick-sand like experience trying the move the football either by land or through the air.
We were able to get in touch with head football coach, Chris Manning. He told KPGFootball, “Let’s not lose sight of the fact we won. Were we pretty offensively? No. Were we effective when need-be? Resoundingly, yes.”
“Defensively, can’t do anything but compliment that side of the football,” Coach Manning continued. “The defense was put in some compromised positions owing to miscues and turnovers and just kept delivering time after time.”
“In the end, the team won a game where it struggled.,” Coach Manning concluded. “This program has made tremendous strides since our coming on board. Simply put, we expect to win games now we would have anticipated losing in the past. We’re getting there, we’re 1-0, a ton of teams would trade places with us.”
If there was an offensive bright spot, it came in the presence of sophomore QB, Isaac Earl. Earl and Sylas Gunn had split the first-team reps at QB the entire preseason and Gunn drew the opening night reps.
However, there was no moping on Earl’s part. With the team trailing by what appeared to be an insurmountable 14-6 deficit entering the 4th-quarter, in light of how both offenses had performed to that point, Earl came off the bench to engineer two late drives. Earl’s play may have snatched victory from the jowls of defeat.
Earl entered the game, in relief of Gunn, and provided just enough spark to get over victory’s threshold. Central was able to storm ahead and cross the finish line with a lot of things to “clean up,” but 1-0 nevertheless; on the good end of a 20-14 final.
Next up for Central is a trip to Fort Campbell where the Storm figures to be prohibitively a “favorite.” North looms in week three.
This is Fletcher W. Long, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!
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