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Central High School
Pageland

Central football getting ready for new season

By Ken Buck

Staff Writer

Pageland— Central High Head Football Coach Trent Usher has his team in the midst of the Spring drills as they prepare for the 2018 Fall season.

The Eagles first begin Spring practice earlier this month. Usher said that, while it is early and his team is in shorts and helmets early, things are looking promising.

“We are taking it slow and trying to find a quarterback,” he says.

Quarterback candidates include Sophomore Shi McManus and Junior Sebastian Richardson.

“They are both athletes,” says Usher. “One might be throwing the ball a little bit better right now but overall they are tit-for-tat after three days of practice so we will just have to see.”

As is typical this early in the Spring season, Usher said that experience is helping the defense be ahead of the offense so far.

“But on the plus side, we return everyone but one starter on the offensive line,” he adds. “Upfront on both sides of the ball is where I think we are ahead of the game right now. Defense this time of the year is always going to be ahead because it just doesn’t take as long on that side of the ball.”

The Eagles will jump right into it with a Week Zero opener at Broome in the Spartanburg area.

Usher and his team are already talking goals and expectations for the team for the summer.

“We expect them to be at our workouts every morning,” he explains. “We are going to give them that first week in June off and July Fourth, but with us playing Week Zero everybody needs to be here all Summer. Hopefully we will get it done and get the ball rolling towards (the opener at Broome).”

The Eagles will also be participating the Summer Seven-on-Seven competition with five match ups scheduled so far and hoping for one more. All of those competitions will be in June.

“Hopefully it will help teacher the secondary their roles because we are so young there,” says Usher. “I don’t go into Seven-on-Sevens looking to win them but I want them to learn in them. Hopefully they will learn a lot and that way when we start with Jamborees and scrimmages we will know what we are doing back there.”

On the special team side of the ball the Eagles are looking for a long snapper.

“We have our punter back,” says Usher, “But other extra points and field goals is wide open right now and we have to find someone who can kick off. Hopefully we can find someone who can put it in the end zone so our opponent has to start at the twenty yard line every time.”

In other Central news, the softball and baseball team each ended their seasons with post season berths.

The Lady Eagles softball team, coach by Katie Carnes, worked to improve all throughout the season, and it paid off with a trip to the District VI round of the Class AA playoffs.

Central started off with a bang, stunning homestanding Woodland 6-4.

In the second game of the district, the Lady Eagles narrowly fell to Johnsonville, moving them to the losers’ bracket. In Game Three, the Lady Eagles bounced back and got an 11-1 win over Bamberg-Erhardt, moving Central to the district finals.

Needing two wins, the Lady Eagles season came to a close when another match up with Johnsonville in the district final resulted in a 9-0 loss in the first game.

Leading the Lady Eagles this season were a number of key players, including Hannah Killough, Leah Stegall, Chesney Miller and Taylor Sowell.

The Central High baseball team also made a trek to the playoffs, opening up the District I playoffs with a 4-2 win over Gray Collegiate.

In Game Two, the Eagles fell to Chesnee 4-1, and had to move to the losers’ bracket. There, Central again faced Gray Collegiate but fell 6-5 to end their season.

Baseball Head Coach Mitch Leaird said that his team fell a little short of winning the region but were hoping for a good run in the playoffs.

“We just did not come up with key hits in situations when we should have,” he says. “But I was very proud of our pitching and our defense throughout the playoffs. Offensively the bottom line is that we just didn’t come through.”

Earlier in the season the Eagles were hitting the ball well and struggling to find consistency on the mound.

“Pitching was our big question mark all year but when we got into the playoffs we pitched well but the offense just went South.”

 Among the key players for Central this season included Seniors BR Hatcher and Tommy Eubanks.

me other region teams.

“Winning the region championship is our goal, and it has been our goal since Day One, and we still have a shot at doing that,” says Leaird.

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