Countdown to kickoff: Keller Central Chargers

Posted Friday, Aug. 15, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Keller Central

District 5-6A

Coach: Bart Helsley

Last season: 5-6 (4-3 in District 4-5A), lost to Arlington Martin in the bi-district round

Key players: C Elijah Britton (6-4, 310), OL Austin Wayman (5-8, 250), OL Jaxon Nichols (6-1, 215), QB Jake McClurg (6-2, 180), RB K.T. Smeby ( 6-0, 185), DE L.J. Mason (5-11, 225), LB Collin Wright (6-0, 180), DB/WR Taylor Robinson (6-0, 175).

The big picture: Three of the biggest components to the Chargers’ offensive success last season are back. Quarterback Jake McClurg, running back K.T. Smeby and wide receiver Taylor Robinson combined for 17 touchdowns in 2013 and will lead the way for Central this year. With the return of center Elijah Britton and Austin Wayman on the offensive line, the Chargers should have an effective running game this season. Where Central may struggle is on the defensive side of the ball, where they return just three starters to the district’s second-strongest defensive unit (291 yards per game) from 2013. Defensive end L.J. Mason, a first-team all district selection and third-year letterman, will anchor the Chargers’ defense that will face, among others, the defending 4A Division I state champions in Denton Guyer. “We graduated eight off of last year’s defense, so we’ve got several spots that people are competing for on the defensive side,” coach Bart Helsley said. “That’s really going to be one of the big things we look at early on.” Central’s offense, which returns six starters, will have to find its rhythm during the nondistrict schedule and its defense needs to have some of its younger players make big plays to put itself in the best position for a playoff berth in 2014.

Quotable: “What we have not done is won a playoff game. I know that these seniors want to leave their mark, and that is what one of their goals is.” — coach Bart Helsley

“It’s going to take chemistry to get to the playoffs and get to the second round. We’re going to have to work together, and we’re going to have to do extra work outside of practice. We have to get the little things right and try to be perfect. We can’t mess up in any area.” — Taylor Robinson

Notable: From 2008 to 2010, the Chargers won just six district games and missed the playoffs every year. From 2011 to 2013, Central earned a postseason spot each season. Central is the only Keller ISD school to make the playoffs each of the past three seasons.

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