Keller Citizen

Central’s spring drills focus on three areas

Keller Central RB D'antavian Blackshear is among a solid group of returning players for fall.
Keller Central RB D'antavian Blackshear is among a solid group of returning players for fall. Special to the Star-Telegram Ste

Central used all 18 practices allotted by the UIL for spring drills and had a keen eye on three areas of interest for the coming season.

Head coach Bart Helsley said the Chargers will be solid at defensive line and linebacker, but the staff wanted to see how the offensive line, receivers and secondary would start to take shape in the spring drills.

“We have young guys on the offensive line where we’ll have three new starters. It will be a critical area for us,” Helsley said.

“There are a lot of different guys at receiver, and the secondary is where we were putting a lot of emphasis on to see the progress with the new faces,” he said.

“I’m pleased with the progress of the defensive front and linebackers and we had to move people around in the secondary.”

All the pieces seem to be coming together for Central, Helsley summarized after the spring game.

There were just some minor bumps and bruises as the intrasquad game capped the spring season.

“The kids played with some enthusiasm and energy,” Helsley said after the workouts and game was completed. “It was one of our better spring game experiences we’ve had in a while.”

Some of the key returning players on offense are Ian McIver and Jordan Mailloux on the line, Reece Robertson at QB, Zion Purvis, and D’antavian Blackshear at running back.

Helsley said receiver/H-back Grant Meek had a productive spring and showed his versatility.

The defense, although young in spots, saw productive work this spring from Christian Worthy at defensive end, Austin Gaither, Patrick O’Connell at nose guard, Matt Gerard, Nicholas Schifftner at linebacker and Dylan Sondej at corner.

Helsley also noted that Noah Moreno stepped up in drills at corner and Josh Cilumba transitioned well from corner to the “spur” spot in the secondary. Tony Dracopoulos and Isaiah Ganaway will also help shore up the secondary with experience.

“While we do have some new faces in key spots,” Helsley said, “the kids understand, too, they’re competing for their job all the way through. The competition for positions is good and makes us better. Whether a starter or a backup, everyone’s fighting for their position.

“There is always room for improvement and we’ve got to keep competing,” he said. “There are a lot of kids that seem to really enjoy playing and hanging out with each other.”

New faces will also show up in the Chargers’ schedule this year.

Arlington Lamar is a five-time non-district opponent, but new non-conference teams include Richland, Birdville and Garland.

Also, the new District 3-6A will bring Abilene, Haltom and Weatherford to the schedule.

“It’s always exciting to start a new district and this is the biggest change in a long time,” Helsley said of the seven-team district along with the other Keller ISD teams.

“There’s more travel, too, but that’s not always a bad thing,” Helsley said.

The district realignment will likely create a bi-district match-up with the schools from the Arlington area.

Central will continue its strength and conditioning program through the summer, which started last week after a two-week break for the players.