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Central High School
Pageland

Central football getting ready for new season

By Ken Buck

Staff Writer

Pageland— The Central High School Eagles Athletic Department is at hard at work this summer getting ready for the upcoming school year, hoping to continue to winning tradition that the Pee Dee area school has seen of late.

Veteran Athletic Director Mitch Leaird returns with a good mix of returning coaches and those new to the staff.

Trent Usher returns to lead the Eagles football program, a program that advanced to the Class AA playoffs last season.

JR Mangum, a starter on Central’s last state championship in 2010, will be the head Junior Varsity coach. Logan Parker will head the varsity volleyball program and Lauren Jackson will head up the junior varsity volleyball team.

“Logan will be our new varsity volleyball coach after coaching our JV team last year,” says Leaird. “Lauren will take over our JV team. Logan and Lauren are former players at Central and I very excited at the direction that they have our volleyball program headed.”

Wanda Byrd will return to lead the varsity cheerleaders and Lynette Savage will head up the junior varsity cheerleaders.

Joel Dale and Anne Mueller both return to coach the boys and girls cross country teams.

“These two coaches do a great job with our cross country program,” says Leaird. “They have led our boys and girls cross country teams to consistent top 10 finishes in the state for the past two seasons.”

Charles Brown returns as the head coach of the varsity boys basketball team and Eddie Rivers will lead the varsity girls basketball team.

In the Spring, Billy Blakeney will return as the boys track team and Mueller will return as the head coach of the girls track team.

Rivers will come over once basketball season is done to head up the varsity softball team while Usher will coach the junior varsity baseball team.

Leaird said that he likes what he sees in his coaching staffs so far.

“I’m looking forward to the upcoming year and I’m also very optimistic that our athletic teams will be very competitive in all sports,” he says. “Most of our coaching staff remains the same which I feel is important to establishing consistency within our athletic programs.”

Usher has his football team in the midst of summer drills as they prepare for the 2018 Fall season.

“Trent Usher begins his 2nd year as head football coach.

“Coach Usher has been very pleased with the hard work that the kids have shown this summer in the weight room,” Leaird says. “He also welcomes Gary Hamby to his staff. Coach Hamby will coach defensive ends and will serve as our strength/conditioning coach and will be a tremendous asset to our football program. Coach Usher will serve as defensive coordinator this season and Joey Mangum will take over the offensive play calling duties.”

Usher has had his team working hard in the weight room and in some seven-on-seven passing leagues this summer.

“Things are going good,” Usher says about the workouts. “I think we are starting to head in the right direction but we still have a long way to go to get to where we need to be.”

In Spring drills, the Eagles were working to find a quarterback.

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 (coming out of the Spring).”

Central will return everyone but one starter on the offensive line.

“Upfront on both sides of the ball is where I think we are ahead of the game right now,” says Usher.

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

Usher has set his summer expectations for his players.

“We expect them to be at our workouts every morning,” he explains. “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 participated in Summer Seven-on-Seven competition back in June.

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.”

 

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