(WTRF) — After having their run towards a fourth straight class A state championship ended by the COVID map in 2020, Scott Nolte tells us Wheeling Central is back, and ready to make it four in five years. 

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While the 2020 season didn’t end with a state title for the Maroon Knights, this team knows they are still the hunted when it comes to class A and with a robust roster of 47 players they are ready to take everybody’s best shot. 

” We always have that target on our back and we’re just used to it now most teams win one and then its back at it the next year with us we’ve always got that target on our back and were always a favorite to win it, so we’re used to it by now.” 

Braxton Anderson

” Oh yeah, we get hyped for it, we love every moment of it. It makes teams play harder which makes us play.”

Andrew Johnson

While Central did lose some key seniors, what returns is a very strong group. Along the lines look for senior Ben Foster at center, juniors Andrew Hartzell at guard and defensive tackle, Deante Suggs at tackle and defensive tackle, Paxton Marling at guard and defensive end, Braden Whitelach at tackle and defensive tackle, Wyatt Bratton at both tackle positions and sophomore Lucca Ferrera at tackle and d-tackle.

While senior quarterback Michael Toepher recovers from an arm injury suffered in baseball, junior Payton Hildebrand will handle the quarterbacking duties joining him in the backfield are a number of skilled players including junior Riley Watkins who will carry the ball and play free safety, seniors Andrew Johnson will lineup at running back and linebacker, Braxton Anderson will handle running back and corner back duties.

Cody Martos will also carry the ball and play linebacker. Junior Lorenzo Ferrera will also figure into the running attack along with sophomore Eli Tucker who will also play free safety and handle the kicking duties. Senior Cole O’Neil will also help at tight end and linebacker. While at receiver they return seniors Javon Miller and Caleb Ratcliffe who will also play in the defensive backfield along with sophomore Quinten Burlenski.

 ” I feel like we have pretty good balance that we can run and throw that we can get to the line of scrimmage as far as taking the point of attack but we’ve got to be physical we’ve got to play with physicality we’ve got to stay healthy we’ve got to play good defense and limit the number of possessions our opponents get.” 

Coach Mike Young

Central will begin their run to a hopeful fourth state title in five years when they host Ambridge next Friday.