Keller Central coach Bart Helsley scheduled top notch non-district opponents in an attempt to ready his team for District 4-5A play and beyond.
That strategy has worked as the Chargers (5-5) qualified for the post season for the third straight year. Central meets Arlington Martin (8-2) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
“When we looked at our non-district schedule, and put Boswell who’s a perennial playoff team on there and Lamar, we believed that it would be a great test for us,” Helsley said. “Our district schedule gave us some great challenges as well and all those teams help you get ready for the speed and physical ability of a team like Martin.”
When Central squares off against the Warriors at Mansfield's Newsom Stadium they will also be trying to capture the school’s first playoff victory. Central opened 10 years ago. This year’s seniors want to go out with a bang.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to go out there and play another week and have a shot at Martin,” Helsley said. “Once the playoffs start everyone is 0-0 and if you get the job done you keep on going and if not you go home. Two years ago we lost to Allen and last year to Bowie and the goal from day one this year was to advance in the playoffs. I can’t say enough about this group how great their attitude and effort has been all year.”
Central knows it will have to rely on its defense that has been solid all year and get timely scores from its offense to have a shot at the win.
“Our defensive kids have a good understanding and our coaches make sure they know what their responsibilities are,” Helsley said. “Martin will be one of the biggest challenges because they mix the run and pass so well. I feel like our kids are prepared and will be ready. Offensively we’ve had some ups and downs throughout the year and just need to try to be consistent. We had a couple tough losses down the stretch, but hopefully that’s made us tougher.”