Eleven Spartans make first-team
Centennial football coach Kyle Geller said the 2018 season for his team couldn’t be defined by two losses but by the brotherhood the players showed during the season.
Even though the Spartans suffered a season-ending, 34-7, loss to Frisco Reedy in the regional semifinals, the squads accomplished a lot.
“We aren’t going to let that last loss define our season,” Geller said. “We lost to a really good team.”
Centennial had the most successful season in the program’s history with an 11-2 record. The 11 wins also equaled the most wins ever by a Burleson ISD team.
It was also the second time the Spartans reached the regional semifinals in the past four years. Centennial’s other loss came to eventual Class 5A Division II state champion Aledo.
“We had a good team this year,” Geller said. “More importantly we had a team that supported each other and enjoyed competing. They were a great bunch. They meshed well together and took coaching well. They were intrinsically motivated and you can’t ask for anything more as a coach.”
After losing to Aledo to open District 5-5A Division II play, the Spartans reeled off eight straight district wins to finish second behind the Bearcats. Centennial then collected playoff wins over Corsicana and Dallas Kimball before falling to Reedy.
The Spartans efforts in district play didn’t go unnoticed as seven offensive players and four defensive players landed first-team spots on the recently released all-district team.
The first team players included senior quarterback Kyle Burns, junior running back Chris Moseley, junior fullback Jeff Kirven, senior center Owen Romero, junior guard Daniel Davis, senior tackle Trevor Suggs and senior kicker Ben Harwell.
Burns came back from an injury suffered in a playoff loss to Mansfield Lake Ridge in 2017 to lead the Spartans triple-option attack. The senior rushed for 566 yards and five touchdowns and threw for 553 yards and nine scores.
“Kyle making the first-team is well-deserved,” Geller said. “I know that will mean a lot to him. For him to recover from the injury that he had and make first-team all-district was in my opinion pretty special. Kyle’s impact on the program will last for a long, long time.”
Mosley might have been the most exciting player the Spartans had on the field in 2018. The junior averaged 13.1 yards per carry and 30.4 yards per reception from his slotback position.
“Chris is one of the top play-makers in our district,” Geller said. “He can catch the ball, run the ball and do just about everything, including special teams.”
The junior finished with 924 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on 71 carries. He also caught 11 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns.
“It was tough because we had him and Jaylon Jackson up for first-team running back,” Geller said. “It’s hard to get two of them on the first-team.”
Kirven was the Spartans top runner this season with 1,008 yards and 15 touchdowns on 135 carries. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry for the year.
“Jeff was our leading rusher this year despite not playing in every game this year,” Geller said. “He was definitely the best fullback in the district.”
Centennial’s running game was strong thanks to the play of Romero, Davis, and Suggs.
Geller said as a freshman Romero didn’t look like a first-team player but he improved each year.
“Owen was very dedicated to getting better in the off-season,” Geller said. “He enjoys the game. He’s one of my favorite players. He never has a bad day. He’s a hard, hard worker.”
Davis split time at left guard with senior Jayden Fleming. Geller said either Davis or Fleming could have been a first-team player.
“Daniel decided to dedicate himself to being a good varsity football player,” Geller said. “After his freshman year, he didn’t do much in the summer and this past year he did. All of our offensive linemen are the rocks that our offense is built on. They are the most dedicated players we have.”
Suggs was easily the Spartans offensive lineman according to Geller.
“He’s just nasty, that’s the best way to describe him,” Geller said. “He only knows one speed and sometimes you have to pull him back a bit. But you’d rather have to do that than have to kick them in the butt. He’s had a couple of colleges offers lately, so he’ll get the chance to play at the next level.”
Harwell had a great season for the Spartans and didn’t miss a field goal or point-after attempt all season.
“Ben really worked on his craft during the summer,” Geller said. “He went outside the normal workouts and took private lesson like a lot of kickers do. He worked hard in the weight room.
He became “Mr. Dependable” for us. He’s probably the most unheralded guy on the first-team.”
The Spartans had four first-team defensive players in senior outside linebacker Mykel Parker, junior outside linebacker Chase Phillips, senior safety Da’Quan Campbell, and junior punter Hank Meyer.
Parker emerged this season at linebacker as not seeing much playing time on defense as a junior, Geller said.
“Mykel is a program kid,” Geller said. “He mostly played on the special teams as a junior Going into the season, we weren’t quite sure that he was going to step up and be the guy but he sure did that.”
Phillips along with Parker helped the Spartans lock down things up the middle this season.
“Chase grew up a lot this season,” Geller said. “In the first game of the season, I had to get on him pretty hard about being soft and after that, he just continually got better and better and better.”
Campbell had a record-setting season for Centennial. His eight interceptions were the most in a season for a Spartan and his three interceptions against Waco University were the most for a Spartan in a game.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride for Da’Quan,” Geller said. “He was injured early during spring in basketball. It was a pretty serious injury and we didn’t know if he was going to play this season. He couldn’t do much during the summer. Then he went out and set an interception record for us.”
Meyer had a good season punting the ball for the Spartans.
“This season we never had a punt returned on us,” Geller said. “That was nice. He also had a number of fake punts that he executed. It helps sometimes just being an athlete.”
The Spartans had nine second-team players including four on offense and five on the defense. The offensive players were junior running back Jaylon Jackson, senior tight end Will Mitchell, senior guard Jayden Fleming and senior tackle Ryan Chappell. The defense players on the second-team were senior end Mazin Richards, senior tackle Vincent Ortega, junior safety Matiyron Easley and senior cornerbacks David Robinson and Corey Price.
Centennial produced five honorable mention players in senior offensive tackle Zach Scarbrough, senior receiver Brendan Jenkins, senior defensive tackle Michael Kornak, senior linebacker Darrell Williams and junior receiver Monte Johnson.