High School Football

New name, renewed attitude for Central 8-man program

by Doug Gorman

The school’s name may have changed, but the goals for Central Christian’s 8-man program remains to bring a football championship to the school.

Central — formally known as Heritage Christian — jumps from the Independent Schools of Georgia and Alabama Association, where it had reached a state final in 2012, to a new conference comprised of teams from Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

The last two seasons for the Crusaders have provided opposite ends among the spectrum of success.

Coming off a 1-loss season in 2013, the program struggled with numbers in categories that included players and points, while finishing winless.

Among the positives, however, last year’s team completed the year with back-to-back losses by five combined points, including a final 40-36 loss to Harvester in the state playoffs.

“Last year wasn’t the year we wanted it to be, but there’s lessons in everything you do win or lose,” said head coach Paul Frantz, who heads into his second year at the helm following several as a coordinator and assistant in the program. “The kids who are back, that makes them that much hungry.”

Heading into this season, there’s a renewed interest in football at the school, and it started with the off-season conditioning program and working hard in the weight room.

“That’s where it starts,” Frantz said. “If that’s not where you want it to be, you are not going to have a very good season. This team has always had a tough mindset, and some kind of direction. They will do whatever you ask them to do, and they will do it 100 percent.”

Frantz thinks last year’s disappointing season might play in the team’s favor heading into this year’s campaign.

“I think to appreciate the highs, you have to have some lows,” Frantz said.

Central opens the 2014 season against Freedom Academy Friday at East Coweta Middle School.

Linemen Jesse and Christian Parkerson bring experience and leadership and will again be counted this season.

“They didn’t hardly miss a workout this summer,” Frantz said “They are bigger, stronger and faster, and they are hungry. They went through some tough times last year and they are ready.”

During the offseason, the Crusaders also welcomed back former teammate Jared Farlow to the program. Farlow, who spent last season at nearby Trinity Christian, was the Lions’ leading rusher and is slated to start at quarterback.

Another Trinity transfer, Wyatt Martinez, should provide a boost after finishing among the Lions top tacklers in 2013.

Frantz admits he doesn’t know too much about next week’s opponent, but he is excited about moving to a new league.”

“There is a whole lot more to play for,” he said. “There are some really good opponents on the schedule this year. We are ready to get after it.”

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