Countdown to kickoff: Burleson Centennial

Posted Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Burleson Centennial

District: 8-5A

Last season: 2-8 (2-5 District 8-4A)

Key players: OL/DL Colton Hostetler (6-0, 275); LB/FB Hunter Donnelly (6-2, 215); LB Asher Gillaspie (5-9, 195); WR/CB Davonte Sanders (6-0, 170); QB Austin Mortensen (6-1, 175); QB Payton Strambler (5-10, 165); S Dylan Payne (5-9, 160).

The big picture: After a recent outdoor practice, Centennial players trudged up a steep slope that leads to the school’s indoor training facility. Likewise, Centennial has faced a steep climb in each of its first two seasons of UIL competition. Spartans coach Kyle Geller, however, believes his hard-working squad can achieve success this season in a deep District 8-5A. “We added Aledo and they’re state champions and everybody knows who they are, but it ought to be a very competitive district from top to bottom,” Geller said. Centennial is turning to a new offense to keep opponents off balance. The Spartans, who return talented receiver Davonte Sanders (5 TD receptions and 19.1 yards per catch last season), have implemented a new option system similar to the triple option Navy uses. “People will have to prepare for us,” Geller said. “I think it fits our personnel now.” Senior Austin Mortensen and sophomore Payton Strambler are competing to be the trigger man. Whoever doesn’t win the QB job will see action at another position, Geller said. Senior guard Colton Hostetler, who has started since his freshman year, is pumped about the new approach. “We’re hoping to work out all the kinks in our plays,” Hostetler said. “Pay attention to the little things, get down all the details, and it will be working like clockwork.” The Spartans’ defense will have a familiar feel. The anchors are linebackers Asher Gillaspie, who led the team in tackles last season, and Hunter Donnelly, who has drawn the interest of several Division I programs.

Quotable: “We’ll play people with better speed than us, without question. We have some tremendous speed in our district. So the best way to win football games is you don’t lose them. You don’t hurt yourself. We’ve got to play with great discipline, great intensity and be in great shape.” — coach Kyle Geller

“I think we’ve got a chance in every game we play this year.” — OL/DL Colton Hostetler

Notable: Coach Kyle Geller has installed an option offense similar to the one he ran successfully at Mansfield Summit from 2005 to 2008. … Six of Centennial’s 10 opponents (Aledo, Granbury, Burleson, Crowley, Everman and Saginaw Boswell) made the Class 4A playoffs last season.

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