Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

August 17, 2013

PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: High hopes in 2013

Central has big crop of letterwinners

ELKHART — Coming off the program’s first winning season since 2007 means things are looking up for the Elkhart Central Blue Blazers heading into the 2013 high school football season.

The Blue Blazers finished 6-5 a year ago for coach Levon Johnson. That’s the best mark since a Mark Hummel-led squad went 5-4 in 2007.

“Expectations are pretty high,” Johnson said.

He enters his fourth season at the school. “This is the first group to go through four years with the coaching staff. The kids have seen the progression and are holding themselves accountable. They want to win.”

A total of 27 letterwinners return as Central prepares to open the season on Friday by hosting crosstown rival Elkhart Memorial at Rice Field.

Six-one (190) junior Vinny Schnell is the expected starter at quarterback for the Blazers.

“Vinny started for us last season at outside linebacker, but he has known his time was coming at quarterback,” Johnson said.

“He is too good of an athlete to just have him as the backup quarterback last season.”

There’s depth in at running back according to the coach with 5-7 (155) Gavin George, 5-9 (215) senior Keion Johnson, 5-6 (145) junior Joe Phillips and 5-6 (142) sophomore Antonio Jones competing for playing time.

“We have confidence in each one of them,” Johnson said.

Contenders for time at wide receiver are 6-1 (180) senior Austin Christensen, 6-0 (145) senior Blake Faus, 6-2 (195) senior Vince Lucchese, 6-1 (175) senior Tre Taylor and 6-1 (190) junior Joe Holmes.

Leaders in the offensive line are 5-9 (242) senior Adrian Arellano, 6-4 (205) senior Derald Gray, 6-0 (346) Malik Scott, 6-2 (258) junior Issac Barrios and 5-11 (205) junior Jack Fann.

“Each one of them started at some time last season,” the coach said.

Barrios is a two-year starter at guard.

Central has thrown the ball quite a bit over the last few seasons.

“Our offense should be more balanced this season, but as any coach will tell you that depends on what the defense gives you,” Johnson said.

Top players in defensive line are Barrios, 6-6 (242) senior Travis Barnes, 5-10 (174) senior Eric Landgraf, 5-11 (234) senior Michael St. Germain and 5-9 (182) sophomore Ian Jenks. Leaders at linebacker are Keion Johnson, 6-3 (175) senior JaRon Walters and 5-11 (170) sophomore Lincoln Bowers.

Leading candidates in the secondary are Christensen and Lucchese at cornerbacks, Schnell at free safety and 5-9 (168) senior Charles Fletcher at safety.

“The strength of the defense will be the line and Johnson,” coach Johnson said.

“The line has a lot of experience and Johnson is quite a player.”

Five-seven (132) sophomore Cosmo Disori will handle the placekicking duties and 5-7 (190) classmate Eddie Coddington will be the punter.

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