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Battle Creek Central Football Season Preview: The What, Who & Why for the 2020 Bearcats

Battle Creek Enquirer (Grand Rapids) logo Battle Creek Enquirer (Grand Rapids) 3 days ago Bill Broderick, Battle Creek Enquirer
a group of people wearing costumes: Battle Creek Central's Jalen Jackson (10), Felix Shorter (1) and O'Marion Davis (2) pose for a picture on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 at Battle Creek Central High School. © Alyssa Keown | The Battle Creek Enquirer Battle Creek Central's Jalen Jackson (10), Felix Shorter (1) and O'Marion Davis (2) pose for a picture on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 at Battle Creek Central High School.

A young team with a chip on its shoulder. That is how Battle Creek Central enters the 2020 season, knowing it has a chance to improve throughout the season and be ready to play its best football by the time the playoffs begin.

Playing a handful of freshmen and sophomores last year, the Bearcats missed the postseason after going to the playoffs in 2018 for the first time in a decade.

With a revamped six-game schedule, and every team in the state making the playoffs this season, BCC is looking to take that opportunity to allow for an inexperienced team to grow.

Here are the 3 W’s for the Battle Creek Central football season -- What, Who & Why:

What You Need To Know

BCC started two freshmen last year and several sophomores and many of the key offensive playmakers are no longer on the team.

What those players that did play were able to do was get some experience under fire last year and also see what can happen when a team comes together as the Bearcats did, growing into a playoff team after a couple of rough years, back in 2018.

"Our strength is enthusiasm," BCC coach Lorin  Granger said. "We have a lot of excitement over just getting to play football, after all that has happened with COVID. Kids are happy to be out here. The kids have been doing whatever it takes just to play football, showing a lot of discipline and I think that can help bring us together.

"These kids are definitely hungry. They know they get to play in the playoffs no matter what, so the way we build toward that is getting better week after week. We don’t have to panic about what happens Week 1 or Week 2, they get to chase that ultimate prize of making the playoffs all season."

a close up of a man with a helmet on: Senior Felix Shorter sprints during the first practice of the season on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020 at Battle Creek Central High School. © Alyssa Keown | The Battle Creek Enquirer Senior Felix Shorter sprints during the first practice of the season on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020 at Battle Creek Central High School.

Who You Need To Know

Players who have waited their turn make up most of the lineup for BCC.

Offense: Felix Shorter takes over at quarterback, the first season at the position at the varsity level for him. He brings leadership and athletic ability to the spot. An advantage for Shorter is that he has one of the top receivers in the area to throw to in Jalen Jackson, who is getting recruited at the Division I level.

Lining up behind Shorter will be Omarion Davis, the most experienced running back the Bearcats have on the current roster. But this will be his first season as the main ball carrier with two players that saw time as freshmen also looking for carries, including Kaijehl Williams and Milton Hudson.

On the offensive line, BCC was forced to play several sophomores last year and those players now have a bit of experience. The Bearcats will mostly be depending on senior Malek Hollins to lead that unit.

Defense: With Davis and Jackson in the defensive backfield, BCC is very fast and athletic and will be hard to pass against. However, the Bearcats do have youth on the defensive front. That will put a lot of pressure on the linebacker group, which will be led by Williams and Hudson.

"We have a lot of guys who have been waiting in the wings behind those guys that are gone. They have been waiting for their chance, waiting to prove themselves," Granger said. "We don’t worry about what we don’t have, we just focus on what we do have and being the best we can be."

Why You Need To Know

BCC went 3-6 in 2019, winning two of its last four games to get to that mark. The Bearcats' schedule sets up to allow the team to show improvement throughout. After a rivalry game against a Lakeview team that went unbeaten in the regular season to open the year, BCC will get three straight games against squads that missed the playoffs in 2019. If BCC has shown improvement, it could reveal itself in the final two games against Portage Central and Mattawan, as both were .500 teams a year ago.

"We anticipate going to the playoffs every year, so for us missing last year, wasn’t good enough," said Davis. "So we want to go out on top as seniors, have a big season and have a good run in the playoffs."

Contact Bill Broderick (269) 966-0678 or bbroderi@battlecreekenquirer.com. Follow him on Twitter @billbroderick.

This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Battle Creek Central Football Season Preview: The What, Who & Why for the 2020 Bearcats

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