GRIDIRON PREVIEW: Central reloads with focus and commitment - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

GRIDIRON PREVIEW: Central reloads with focus and commitment

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Camp Point Central is hard at work with plenty of motivation following last season's first round playoff exit. Camp Point Central is hard at work with plenty of motivation following last season's first round playoff exit.

CAMP POINT, IL. (WGEM) --  It's one thing to talk the talk.

But the Central football team has walked the walked as well with over 90 percent participation in summer workouts.

"That was something we really strived for," senior Zach Rankin said.

"We really wanted to get everybody in here (and) get everybody working because we knew the talent that we lost. It's a team accountability thing. We put a lot of effort into that and making sure we were all a team. It shows our dedication."

According to junior Noah Strohkirch, "We got a committed group. Guys want to be here (and) they love Panther football. They want to come in and work. We play for each other. We play for our community."

The Panthers are playing with new offensive toys this season, especially in the backfield where there's a quarterback competition between Zach Rankin and Eric Jones.

"Eric Jones is a junior (and) very athletic. Zach Rankin has all the intangibles - smart, good student, knows the offense as well as we do, (and) ran it for us last year," head coach Brad Dixon said.

"I think we're going to see a good combination of both."

However, don't expect the bread and butter to change.

Central's success in scoring points depends on its effectiveness running the ball and Dixon is eager to watch fresh faces shine on Friday nights.

"We got guys that have played there, like Cole Williams and Noah Strohkirch, and then we got some seniors in Chase Norfolk and Wilson Stotts, and junior Jaycob Rowland at fullback, (and) Chayse Houston as a wing as a junior," Dixon explained. "We got some guys that we're really happy with."

Rankin added: "We're a little bit smaller team but we're very aggressive on the ball. We're really quick across the line and really quick in the backfield. We got a lot of talent that people haven't seen before (and) aren't going to be ready for."

On the defensive side of the ball the Panthers plan to attack with athleticism.

"We got guys that have played a lot," junior Bryce Flesner said.

"Eric Jones and (Noah) Strohkirch are going to be three-year starters at inside linebacker and Cole (Williams) has been starting three years at safety. They're veterans and they know what's going on. They're going to help the other guys that are just getting started. We're going to be pretty good."

One thing is for sure. This is not a time to rebuild in Camp Point, but rather reload.

"We've tried to do that every year," Dixon noted.

"Our guys worked just as hard as they have. Hopefully we've got a little sour taste the way we finished last year on our home field against Carrollton. That's not Panther football. These guys put in the off-season to make sure that doesn't happen."

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