Autumn is in the air and the Centennial High School football team is revving up to start its 2019 season.
Head coach Matt Kriesky enters his fourth year with the Cougars and he has been tasked with getting them into game-day shape. The team is coming off a 3-7 record and Kriesky remains optimistic about the future.
“We’re probably not the biggest team you’re going to see, we’re probably not the fastest team you’ll see, but I would take my 65 guys any Friday night up against anybody,” Kriesky said. “These young men are going to give us everything they’ve got, and they’ll do anything we ask them to.”
Kriesky cites his special bond with the seniors on this team as an exciting dynamic for this year’s team. He and the members of this year’s senior class have been together his entire time at Centennial. According to Kriesky, the team has seen immense growth, especially in the leadership department, since his start with the Cougars.
Despite what last year’s less-than-stellar record says about the team, the Cougars found themselves one or two plays away from winning every game. Kriesky cited last year’s final game against Brentwood as an example. The Cougars were one play away from winning and jumping into the No. 2 seed in the playoffs as opposed to missing out on the postseason.
“This league, top to bottom, is a very competitive league. We're going to do the best we can to succeed.” Kriesky said.
The team lost Jariel Wilson, its superstar running back currently at Austin Peay, but Kriesky is confident in his returning players. The Cougars have five returning offensive linemen, an explosive back in the form of Desmond Smith and senior quarterback Grayson Marcel at the helm.
“Our offense is a little farther along this year than we have been in the past,” Kriesky said. “Having all of our guys together for a year or two should create some new opportunities for us that we haven’t had in the past.”
The Cougars will shift their offense to including more run-pass option plays, but Kriesky’s faith in Marcel remains steadfast. The 6-foot-4 senior missed four games last season, but threw for more than 1,400 yards.
“Grayson has matured tremendously as quarterback, he’s making his reads, making smart passes and his confidence has gone through the roof,” Kriesky said. “He’s a natural leader on the team.”
The Cougars open their season on Aug. 23 facing off against Ravenwood in Region 6-6A contest.
This story and photos are included in the 2019 Williamson Herald High School Football Media Guide! Pick up your copy for stories like this, full schedules, predictions and more!