CENTRAL HIGH (MARLOW), Okla - It wasn't that long ago when Central High was a playoff contender in Class B. Central made the playoffs in 2012 and 2013.
A couple of larger than normal classes raised the Bronchos daily attendance numbers, which meant a bump up to Class A and more importantly, a foray in to 11-man football. Central's numbers quickly returned to normal, which left the program at a severe disadvantage.
"Preparing for 11-man games was real tough. We didn't have a second string to go against in team offense or team defense. So we just ran against air and used barrels a lot," said senior quarterback Caleb Wright.
"It's been great to have a full offense go against a full defense in practice. You know the last two years we've been limited with what we've had and haven't been able to do that, go 11 against 11. So it's been great to be able to line up and get a full look in practice," said head coach Keith Burton.
Two years and one win later, the Bronchos are back at the 8-man level where they feel they belong.
"Our guys went through a rough time the past two years. A lot of these guys have been through some rough times," Burton said. "They know that we're going to be playing on more of a level playing field. They're excited about that. They're hungry to win. The attitude of the team has been great."
Now having fewer positions to fill, Central High is a much deeper team than they've been the last two years. However, the Bronchos are looking for new play-makers to step up following the graduation of dynamic running back Michael Mays.
"Caleb Wright actually played some tailback for us last year but we had to move him to quarterback. Caleb has really, really stepped up on the quarterback game. He has a decent arm. But his strength is running the football. Caleb has very good quickness and we'll have the ball in his hands a lot during the year," said Burton.
Central High will officially make its return to Class B Friday, when they head to SW Covenant.