Central: Can Cantrell do it for Tigers?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cantrell Andrews is well aware of who was the best local running back in 2007.

The Central senior is ready to prove that he can be the best area back in 2008.

"My focus is [Jackson's] Adam Zweigart," Andrews said. "I'm in competition with him right now. He doesn't know right now, but I'm looking at him."

Andrews had a productive 2007 season, but he was unable to statistically match Zweigart, who led all area tailbacks with 215 carries for 1,751 yards while also helping the rival Indians to an undefeated regular season.

Andrews finished last season with 104 carries for 631 yards and 26 catches for 374 yards. He also scored 11 touchdowns while the Tigers struggled, posting a 2-8 record.

It's simple. Andrews wants better statistics, wants to be an all-state back and wants his team to win.

In other words, he wants to have a year like Zweigart experienced in 2007.

Andrews likely will receive more carries this season.

First-year Central coach Rich Payne has implemented a three-back system that consists of a tailback, fullback and wingback, and employs multiple sets.

"He's got some really, really good moves on the run," Payne said of Andrews. "Yes, he's fast as daylight."

Payne was hired May 22 to replace Lawrence Brookins, who resigned after leading the Tigers to a 44-54 combined record during the past nine seasons.

Payne, who previously worked as an assistant coach at both Central and Southeast Missouri State University and most recently served as a high school football official, said his coaching philosophy always has been to run the football first and throw second.

His run-first offense fits perfectly with the 2008 Tigers, who have a young quarterback, sophomore Andrew Williams.

"I'm excited about building an offense around a kid like Cantrell," Payne said. "I think we want to take some of the pressure off the quarterback position."

Senior John Ritter will start at fullback with senior Dante Sales also seeing some time there. Juniors Raymond Woldtvedt and Brandon Pickens should split time at wingback, which Payne said is a position in which Woldtvedt and Pickens would get the opportunity to run the football as well as catch it.

"The beauty of the offense that we're going to run is that any of the three backs could have the ball at any time," Payne said. "So there's a mode of deception with the wing-T that keeps the defense honest every snap."

Andrews said he thinks the team will have success with its new offense.

"I feel this is my team, and I'm going to do all I can to help my team out," Andrews said. "Last year we ran a lot of I-formation, and this year the tailbacks are off to the side. It's something new that we're trying. I've got confidence in it. All the coaches and players have confidence in our new offense and defense."

Mr. Nickname

Andrews is a player of many nicknames.

Andrews picked up the nickname "Jitterbug" last year because of his ability to make strong moves while running the football. This year he has been called "Trell" and "Cadillac," the latter, which he said Payne gave him, adding that he is not sure if it is because he reminds the new coach of NFL running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams.

Andrews said he will use his speed and make quick cuts, but also can muscle the ball if needed.

"He not only runs for speed, but power also," Ritter said of Andrews. "He can juke somebody just as much as run them over."

Payne looks at Andrews as one of the top senior leaders on his squad.

"He's a hard-working young man," Payne said. "This summer his dedication to the weight room was very evident. No. 1, if he came at 7 a.m. and didn't get his whole workout in, then you'd see him back at 5 p.m. And he'd also work with the younger kids. He'd be there to talk to them about technique.

"He's prepared himself mentally and physically for his senior season."

A new team

Although Payne understands Andrews' importance to the team's success, the first-year coach also has emphasized that the Tigers need a total team effort to win in 2008.

Payne said that Andrews came out to practice during the first week with some tape decorating his facemask.

Payne immediately told Andrews that the tape needed to be removed because he wanted everyone on the squad to look and play the same way. Andrews removed the tape as soon as possible.

"This is a team," Payne said. "And this team is bigger than Rich Payne or Cantrell Andrews or any other human being that is a part of the group."

Andrews said Payne has instilled a great level of enthusiasm into the team. He added that Payne wants everyone to focus on this season and forget about 2007.

"We were standing at practice and he [Payne] heard us talking about last year," Andrews said. "He was like, 'I don't want to hear anything about last year. This is a new year and we're going to be a much better team.'"

The entire offense

While Andrews likely will receive the majority of the carries, Ritter said he and the other backs are ready to run the football as well.

"We're definitely more upbeat," Ritter said. "We're just ready to get out there and play and run hard."

Payne said Ritter likely will be called on to run the ball in situations where the Tigers must gain three, four or five yards for a first down.

The other go-to guy, Pickens, is quick. He started on defense last season, played some offense and was on the kickoff return team.

"I think we're going to trick a lot of opponents," Pickens said.

The offensive line will include Jared Siemers, Jose Granados, Eric Rueseler, Jeremy Lamb, David Keifer and Trey Grovener.

Siemers, Kiefer, Grovener and Rueseler all received some time last year.

Payne said that Williams is looking strong, but must work on his mechanics as a passer. He said when the sophomore quarterback keeps his elbow back when throwing, his throws are as good as any local passer. But sometimes Williams tries to short-arm it, and his throws are not as strong.

"Most all of our plays do have a play-action pass off of them," Payne said. "At the same time, too, when it's third-and-15, play action doesn't work. So you have to have another solution, and that other solution will be that we'll spread the field a little bit and take our athletes and wide them out and try to get them in open space.

"We do have some option plays in the offense. [Williams] is going to be running the option. So he's a good athlete. And we've got to take advantage of that."

Andrews said the offense is coming together, thanks to a lot of studying before the season began. The playbook was distributed to players three weeks before fall practices started.

Andrews studied it about two hours each day. Pickens said he studied it about three hours per day, especially during breaks at work.

"It's a new beginning for us," Andrews said. "We just want to come out with a different and better attitude this year. It seems like we have a better enthusiasm about the game. Everybody is coming out excited. ... We're just ready to play and get our first game under our belt — our first win."

2007 results

at Parkway North L 56-7

at New Madrid Co. L 61-16

vs. Blytheville (Ark.) L 45-6

vs. St. Charles W 51-33

at St. Charles West L 35-14

vs. Jackson L 56-13

vs. Ft. Zumwalt North L 45-19

at Poplar Bluff L 35-0

at West Plains L 46-35

vs. Sikeston W 27-20

2008 schedule

Aug. 29 vs. Parkway North at Lindenwood Univ.

Sept. 5 New Madrid Co.

Sept. 11 Blytheville (Ark.)

Sept. 19 at Farmington

Sept. 26 at Sikeston

Oct. 3 Poplar Bluff

Oct. 9 Seckman

Oct. 17 at Rockwood Summit

Oct. 24 Eureka

Oct. 30 at Jackson

The decade so far

2000 Brookins 7-5

2001 Brookins 7-5

2002 Brookins 10-2

2003 Brookins 8-3

2004 Brookins 2-8

2005 Brookins 3-7

2006 Brookins 4-7

2007 Brookins 2-8

2007 Brookins 2-8

2008 roster

1 Austin Davis RB/DB So.

2 Tay Richardson QB/DB Fr.

3 Jayshon Johnson RB/LB Jr.

4 Luke Hinkebein WR/DB Fr.

5 Paul Schrempf WR/DB Jr.

6 Ulrick McGuire RB/LB So.

7 Jon Siemers WR/LB Sr.

8 Drew Gardner WR/DB Sr.

9 Jaeson Reddin WR/DB So.

10 Christian Cavaness QB/DB Fr.

11 Austin Martin WR/LB Fr.

12 James Poindexter RB/DB So.

14 Hikeem Shaw WR/DB Sr.

16 Andrew Williams QB So.

17 Garrett Sprenger WR/DB Sr.

18 Cantrell Andrews RB/DB Sr.

19 Chris Biester RB/LB Jr.

20 Dante Sales RB/LB Sr.

21 Ray Woldtvedt WR/DB Jr.

22 Keilon Moore RB/LB So.

23 Kyle Bader K/P Sr.

24 Louie Smith RB/LB Fr.

25 Brandon Pickens RB/DB Jr.

26 Skylar Horton FB/LB Fr.

27 Brandon Stewart TE/LB Sr.

28 John Ritter RB/LB Sr.

30 Brian Coleman RB/DB Fr.

32 Deonte Jenkins RB/LB Fr.

39 DreShawn Johnson RB/LB So.

40 Jermaine Poindexter TE/DE So.

45 Kevin Flesher RB/LB So.

46 Michael Reeder WR/LB So.

49 Thomas Sheppard RB/LB Fr.

50 Carl Lathum OL/DL Jr.

51 Jared Siemers OL/DL Sr.

52 Alex Robinson OL/DL Sr.

53 Darieth Nunley OL/DL So.

54 Shawn Hammock OL/LB Sr.

55 Devin Rowett So.

56 Jose Granados OL/DL Sr.

57 Aaron Wendel OL/DL Fr.

58 Matt Howard OL/DL Jr.

59 David Kiefer OL/DL Sr.

60 Brandon Chiu OL/DL Sr.

62 Jonathan Lutes OL/DL Fr.

62 Collin Senn OL/DL Fr.

63 Brandon Tanksley OL/DL Fr.

64 Jordan Lamb OL/DL Fr.

65 Trey Grovener OL/DL Jr.

66 Jeremy Lamb OL/DL So.

67 Cody Owens OL/DL Fr.

68 Jake James OL/DL Fr.

69 Seth Mayes OL/DL Fr.

70 Brandon Lee OL/DL Fr.

71 Chris Bird OL/DL So.

72 Eric Rueseler OL/DL Sr.

73 Cody Wicker OL/DL Jr.

74 Zach Young OL/DL Fr.

75 Rickien Russell OL/DL Sr.

76 Jacob Gentry OL/DL So.

77 Hunter Shantz OL/DL Fr.

78 Gregory Sprenger OL/DL So.

79 Mike Sturgeon OL/DL So.

80 Clayton Ratliff WR/DB Fr.

81 Zach Boerboom TE/DL So.

82 Thomas Crocetti WR/DB Fr.

84 Marcus Johnson WR/DB So.

85 David Huffman TE/DB So.

86 Jared Ritter WR/DB Jr.

87 Kris Nunley WR/DB So.

88 Sam Gerlach WR/DB Fr.

89 Wesley Smith WR/LB So.

90 Zach Horrell TE/DL So.

91 Ethan Dambach TE/LB Fr.

97 Deven Worthington TE/DL Fr.

99 Sam Stahly TE/DL Fr.

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