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Central High School
Pageland

 

Central getting hot at the right time

By Ken Buck

Staff Writer

Pageland— The Pageland Central Eagles football team has seen its share of ups and downs this season, but as the “second season” of the playoffs are set to begin this year, the Eagles appear to be peaking at just the right time.

Central finished 6-4 in the regular season, and 4-2 in the region, good enough for third seeding in the playoffs. This Friday Central will travel to Landrum for the first round of the Class AA playoffs. Landrum is 8-2 overall and finished second in their region.

Central Head Coach Trent Usher seems happy with what he’s seeing from his team at this point.

“Overall I think that we are starting to peak at the right time and we still need to clean up a few things like stay on our blocks longer and make tackles on defense,” says Usher. “Hopefully we can keep getting better and make a push in the playoffs.”

Defensively, Usher says everyone is playing very well right now. That defensive unit includes

Dajon Funderburk, Cameron Miller, Jamie Parks, and Shawn Hough.

The linebacking core is led by Daylen Robinson and Trey Robinson.

“Offensively, I think our offensive line is starting to gel together as a until and hopefully we can continue that and our backs can keep running,” Usher says.

The offensive line this season has been led by Devin Rushing, Zack Harris, and Collin Tice.

“They are doing a great job,” says Usher.

Jamie Parks, John Haigler and Cameron Miller at tight end are also helping the line. Part of the running back committee include Jemaih Smith and JR Reid.

Are there any parts of his team’s play that worry Usher?

“Our passing game,” admits the head coach. “We have to figure out a way to stretch out the field vertically in the passing game. If we can start to do that then defenses are going to have to start to cover the whole field and they can’t stack the box on us.

“If we can clean that up maybe we can start to put some more points on the board.”

In a loss to Buford earlier in the season, the Eagles were practically bleeding turnovers, something that at the time was a major concern for Central’s coaching staff.

“We fumbled four times and didn’t get any of them back,” he adds. “We had got to work on ball security and playing better.”

But since then, Usher adds, the team has done significantly better in preventing turnovers.

“I just I hope I don’t jinx us,” he joked. “Since then we have only turned over the ball twice in three game and I will take that.

“But again, in the playoffs, if you turn the ball over it is going to get you beat every time.”

So what has been the keys to the turnaround for Central and leading them to hitting their stride at the right time?

“We have had some leaders to mature and step up and everyone’s buying in,” says Usher. “Our seniors know that this could be their last week of practice (if we don’t win Friday night in the playoffs).

“We treated last week’s last regular season game like a playoff game and we saw some senior leadership that has been needed and hopefully that will continue so we can keep pushing one week at a time.”

Overall the special teams are been solid for Central.

In other Eagles’ news from Fall sports, the Central High Cross Country teams had a great state meet recently. The boys overall finished 12th in the state in Class AA. EJ Threatt finished 12th in the state individually, first for Central High.

Next in for the Central boys was Edgar Guzman came in at 29th overall.

Third overall for the Central boys team was Zykeim Bracey at 79th.

  

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