Football season opens tonight at Warren Central

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Tayven Jackson throws a pass in last year’s semi-state game at Warren Central.

Kelsey Osborne, Website Editor

The last time Center Grove and Warren Central matched up on the gridiron, the Trojans came within inches of advancing to the state title game, having their 4th-and-one at the goal line stopped just short of the endzone. The Trojans return to that same field tonight, when they take on No. 2 Warren Central in an important MIC matchup to open the season.

“Controlling the bigness of the game will be a challenge,” Coach Eric Moore said. “It’s the biggest game in the state so not letting that affect our play will be important. Just relax and doing what we know we can do.”

Being the first game of the season, the rivalry with Warren Central is intensified as the team looks forward to finally getting out on the field. 

“We always play Warren, and there is a big rivalry there,” senior Ethan Crowe said. “We always have beef between us, and it’s gonna be a great game. We are going to have to be mentally prepared, and make sure we are conditioned and ready to play.”

Against a perennial power like Warren Central, first-year quarterback Tayven Jackson knows it will take a total team effort for No. 4 Center Grove to go into enemy territory and come out with a victory.

“I’m always going to be relying on my offensive linemen. They have a big part in the game,” sophomore quarterback Tayven Jackson said. “I can’t do what I do without them. We have to focus on playing every down as a perfect down; we can’t make mistakes. We also have to move the ball efficiently. It’s not just about offense; the defense has to make the stops so offense can get out and score. It’s a team effort, so if we don’t work as a team we won’t be able to succeed.”

Moore will rely on Jackson to lead the team on the field, but he knows he has experience on the field to help Jackson.

“On the offense, it’s the senior offensive linemen. They will have to step up and be leaders by example,” Moore said. “Obviously our new quarterback’s got a big task ahead of him as a sophomore to be a leader by example on the field and do what he can do to help the team be successful. The great thing about this team is that we’re a group of guys that will take a group effort to win. We aren’t just one player; we’re a team that works together in order to win.”

And it’s that team mentality that will determine just how far the Trojans go this season.

“[We want to] win every game, get to the playoffs with everyone healthy so we can do what we’re supposed to do so we can get to that [state championship] game,” Jackson said. “My personal goal is to be a leader out there, keep everyone calm in tough situations and make everyone around me better. If everyone can play comfortably and calmly, it’s gonna be a great season.”

A season that begins tonight on the road where last season ended. In the words of the sophomore quarterback, “It’s gonna be crazy.”