Spartans know ‘Bos’ well
When Centennial’s football team takes the field Friday night they will do so facing an opponent they have played more than their district foes over the past two years.
The Spartans will take on Saginaw Boswell at 7 p.m. Friday at Pioneer Stadium in Boswell for the fourth time in two years.
The Pioneers hold a 2-1 advantage over the Spartans but Centennial won the last meeting in the second round of the playoffs last season.
Boswell coach John Abendschan said his coaching staff groaned when he told them he had set up another two-game non-district series with Centennial. No only are the Spartans coming off a three-round playoff run but they also run a version of the Navy Triple Option that few teams run.
“I know (Centennial) coach (Kyle) Geller runs a great scheme and for us to win we will have to play extremely well,” Abendschan said. “We know we are going in as a pretty heavy underdog but we are going to go out there and fight.”
The biggest concern for Abendschan is getting ready for the option offense and Centennial’s senior quarterback Payton Strambler. For the past two seasons, Strambler has run the offense and Geller calls him a coach on the field. Strambler ran for two scores and 195 yards in the playoff win over Boswell last season.
“Strambler is just a phenomenal player and I hear he’s faster which is a scary prospect,” Abendschan said.
The Pioneers go into Friday’s contest with an inexperienced quarterback at the helm in Chris Delgado. Saginaw lost quarterback Gabe Kurtzhals in the spring to Tommy John surgery and his replacement Dutch Patterson suffered an injury in the Pioneers’ scrimmage that will keep him out for a while.
Abendschan said he has the utmost confidence in Delgado, who will have four days of practice at quarterback under his belt before Friday’s contest.
“If there is a kid to step into this spot he’s it,” Abendshan said. “I couldn’t ask for a better kid to take over. He’s an emotional leader and the kids will rally behind him.”
The cupboard isn’t bare at Boswell.
On defense, seven starters return led by linebacker Hunter Harp. Offensively, the Pioneers could lean heavily on running back Damon Williams.
“We are going to have our hands full, that’s for sure,” Geller said. “Boswell is going to be a good team when it is all said and done. We try not to focus on our opponent and instead on ourselves and concentrate on things that we can control like turnovers and not making mental mistakes.”
Geller was pleased with some of the things he saw in last Friday’s scrimmage with Mansfield Legacy, like the play of his young offensive line. Other things he witnessed during the scrimmage, such as losing focus of defense which led to some big plays, gave him concern. Some of the sloppy play carried over to practice this week.
“Friday night I want to see us play a lot better than we practiced on Monday,” Geller said. “We have to protect the football and execute on offense. Defensively we have to avoid giving up the big play, align correctly and communicate.”
The first game is always a big test especially with so many inexperienced players taking the field for their first varsity game.
“For a lot of them this will be the first time they have seen the bullets flying that fast at them,” Geller said. “It should be interesting.”