By Cole Rogers
For the Forsyth County News
The Central Bulldogs were the surprise story of the season last year after making it to the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
After a rough 2017 season where they went 0-10, they went 7-4 in 2018. The Bulldogs started their 2019 season just like last year: With a big, 43-10 win against the Chamblee Bulldogs.
Jake Bretz returning the opening kickoff immediately set the tone for the night.
Central had control the entire game and showed how productive it can be on both sides of the ball.
The defensive line swarmed on every rushing attempt and barely gave up anything. In fact, Central didn’t even give up 10 rushing yards in the whole game.
Chamblee began passing on nearly every down and ended up with over 100 passing yards, but none of them came easy. There was constant pressure on the quarterback, making most of the short, quick passes.
Despite Chamblee trying the long ball all night, Central was able to prevent them from converting it. The defense was great at slowing down the game and not letting the Chamblee’s get into a quick tempo.
Offensively, the Bulldogs couldn’t be stopped. They had over 350 yards and scored on almost every drive.
The much-improved offensive line deserves a lot of credit for Central’s offensive success, though. Their athleticism and depth are something Central hasn’t had in a long time, and it’s very apparent with the holes they create in the run game.
Quarterback Bronson Landreth ran for 160 yards against Chamblee, but gave all the credit to the line.
“They’re ridiculous,” he said. “Last year we had a good line. This year they upped the competition, they’re better than they were last year. This year is even better.”
With a line like theirs and a group of offensive weapons, Central’s offense is going to be fun to watch all season.
Last season may have ended with a playoff loss, but Central coach Frank Hepler and the Bulldogs are ready to get back to working and grind this year.
“We’re nowhere near where we want to be yet, but it’s a good start,” Hepler said.
With an impressive winning season behind them, the Bulldogs are no longer the huge underdog with a chip on their shoulder. They’re a talented team with experience, depth, and a passion to get back to the playoffs.
This season is about Central proving they belong at the top and that they can go head-to-head against any team.
“We’ve got to keep on moving,” Landreth said. “Every day we’ve got to work harder and harder.”
The expectations are much higher for the Central Bulldogs than in years past, but it looks like the Coach Hepler and his squad are up for the challenge.
Central (1-0) will travel to Cass on Sept. 6 for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.