Our High School Football Preview Tour is complete.
The Rocking M Media sports staff previewed the 2019 season, venturing to different parts of central Kansas.
The last stop features the Salina Central Mustangs.
Salina Central was one of the biggest surprises of 2018. First-year head coach Mark Sandbo took over a program riding an 18-game losing streak.
Central put an end to that drought, thoroughly dominating Eisenhower, winning 44-7. That set the tone as the Mustangs recorded a 7-3 campaign, three losses to Class 6A champions Derby, Maize and Bishop Carroll.
The Mustangs want to prove that last year was no fluke, bringing back six starters on both sides of the football.
The biggest question deals with life post Taylon Peters. The first team Class 3A All-State selection was the AVCTL-I Player of the Year, rushing for 1,719 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging 8.1 yards per carry. Coach Sandbo is up for the challenge, looking to feature senior Cooper Chard in the backfield. Chard primarily was a defender last year, but can run the ball.
Whoever carries the pigskin will have an impressive offensive line to follow. The interior OL features seniors Houston Griffitts and Evan Bishop, plus junior Jake Eisenhauer. The big fellas average 265 pounds, making them an exceptional unit.
That should make senior quarterback Jackson Kavanagh very happy, a guy who enters his third year as the starting QB. Kavanagh completed 98 passes for 1,510 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Kavanagh can also run, accumulating 362 yards and a pair of scores.
The pass-catching group is highlighted by senior Logan Heigele. His leadership will be key to strengthen the unit as a whole.
Senior Quinton Stewart should help in that department as well. Although Stewart was a defensive force last year, the Oklahoma State commit was efficient at the “Y” position, usually scoring when he touched the ball. Stewart, senior Talus Price and junior Rafael Serrano form a solid defensive line group.
The defense lost three huge pieces – Kansas State Wildcat Ben Driver, and linebackers Drew Burgoon and Greg Gibson. Senior linebacker Israel Torres embraces the role of being a leader for an inexperienced corps.
Senior captain Gage Prester had an impressive summer, making huge strides as a defensive back. Senior Kray True and junior Dakota Hogan also return with high hopes of building on last season.
2019 schedule for the Salina Central Mustangs (all kickoff times slated for 7 pm on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL):
Sept. 6 – at Eisenhower
Sept. 13 – Derby
Sept. 20 – Salina South
Sept. 27 – at Hutchinson
Oct. 4 – at Campus
Oct. 11 – Newton
Oct. 17 – Maize
Oct. 25 – at Hays
Nov. 1 – PLAYOFFS
Day 1: Abilene Cowboys
Day 1: Ellsworth Bearcats
Day 2: Southeast of Saline Trojans
Day 3: Minneapolis Lions
Day 4: Smoky Valley Vikings
Day 4: Sacred Heart Knights
Day 5: Solomon Gorillas
Day 5: Ell-Saline Cardinals
Day 6: Bennington Bulldogs
Day 6: Salina South Cougars