Central football team eager to show its mettle on the field

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Members of the Central football team include (front, left to right) Noah Diersen, Vaughn Zittergruen, Maddux Eglseder, Noah Reinhart, Jack Scherf, Nick Deitchler, Carter Krugger; (middle) Mark Hertrampf, Ryan Schroeder, Sam Fettkether, William Moser, Logan Sharpe, Kale Doeppke, Elliot Kelly; (back) Evan Schroeder, Brandon Whittle, Spencer Heer, Nate Shirbroun, Lane Orr, Sean Wilwert and Riley Keene. Not pictured are head coach Joe Koehn, assistant coach Colten Ledbetter and volunteer Sam Hilgerson.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


“We are very excited for this season! We have a hungry group of kids that are eager to get after it and win some football games. We have a great group of returning letter-winners and starters coming back with a lot of experience to help lead this group of young men.” 


That’s how Central’s head football coach Joe Koehn feels about the upcoming season, which begins this Friday, Aug. 27, at Clarksville. 


But it won’t be easy, with the Warriors losing graduates Hazen Loan and Evan Pensel, both key cogs in the offensive machine last season, as well as the leadership of James Eberhardt.


Koehn remains confident, though, having faith in the experience of two returning all-district Selections in Evan Schroeder and Sean Wilwert, who fill some of the gaps left by graduated players. 


He’s also confident in the other players, including last season’s leading tacklers Elliot Kelly and Noah Diersen. Both will prove vital if the Warriors look to improve their rush defense. 


That rush defense will also be aided by “some beef returning,” as Koehn put it, in players Brandon Whittle and Ryan Schroeder. 


Add in a “few kids that are eager to step into a varsity role on both sides of the ball,” including Nate Shirbroun, William Moser, Nick Deitchler, Spencer Heer, Lane Orr, Sam Fettkether, Kale Doeppke, Parker Vaughn and Riley Keene, and the team is expecting to improve on a one-win season a year ago.


There is also the question of the offense and what it will look like. Last season, the Warriors averaged just 3.3 yards per carry rushing the ball and struggled with offensive line blocking miscues. The passing game fared little better, finishing with a 36.2 percent completion rate with 15 interceptions and eight touchdowns. 


These challenges are something Koehn hopes can be turned into strengths with the addition of volunteers Sam Hilgerson and Tyler Bazyn and a preseason camp that has “been filled with lots of learning and mental challenges to help get these kids in the right mindset to grow and be successful this season.” 


As for the type of offense Koehn wants to run, he is unequivocally dedicated to the running game. 


“Our unwavering loyalty to the run game hasn’t changed and we plan to set the tone on offense by winning the line of scrimmage. The kids have been focusing on strength and conditioning this off season to give themselves the confidence to win the line of scrimmage, finish runs and execute their assignments,” he said. 


When it comes to expectations, Koehn doesn’t put a lot of stock in wins and losses, but in character, teamwork, work ethic and player growth. There is a desire to produce a more successful product on the field, though.


“The kids and coaches are excited for a new year and new expectations. We are turning a new page in the book of the Central football program and the 2021 chapter is ready to be written,” Koehn added.

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