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Football: Centaurus reveling in revamped schedule, fresh start

Shiting to a new league has Matt Buchler and the battle-tested Centaurus Warriors confident about a breakout season.
Cliff Grassmick / Daily Camera
Shiting to a new league has Matt Buchler and the battle-tested Centaurus Warriors confident about a breakout season.

LAFAYETTE — It is easy for outsiders to dismiss the previous two Centaurus football seasons as unsuccessful, as uninspired.

Four wins in a two-year span will spur its share of doubters.

But before completely writing off those seasons as failures, there are a few things to consider. For one, the Warriors played in the top-heavy Class 3A Northern League. Two, they played a rigorous non-league schedule, facing playoff-tested teams such as Conifer, Silver Creek and Roosevelt.

That’s why there is a steady waft of sanguinity surrounding the Warriors entering this season.

“We’re optimistic,” Warriors coach Chad Senseney said. “We got ourselves in a new league, which is by no means an easier league. But we did go out and schedule our own non-conference games and got away from some teams maybe we shouldn’t have been playing, and we’re playing more schools like us.”

The Warriors have transferred to the Metro North League, and their non-league slate features teams such as Fort Lupton, Englewood and Kennedy. Perhaps more noteworthy, athletes who took their lumps in the win-loss column the past two seasons are now battle-tested.

Included are Air Force-bound, two-way lineman Michael DeVries, playmaking running back Matt Buchler and multi-position threat Shayne Albertson. All seniors, they have scrutinized the new schedule.

“It’s bittersweet, because there were a couple teams we wanted to get for another year,” DeVries said. “Holy Family was really the one we wanted to play for one more year. But at the same time, the league switch is kind of going to be refreshing, just to play some different teams.”

In anticipation of their Zero Week game against Fort Lupton (7 p.m., Friday, Warrior Stadium), Centaurus switched up its summer camp routine. Rather than the typical time slot in June, the Warriors had it in late July.

They scrimmaged against 3A power Frederick and were spurred almost seamlessly into official practices a few weeks later.

“In the past our camp was in the beginning of June, so we’d learn our stuff and then we’d have to relearn it at the beginning of practice,” Buchler said. “This year has been a constant flow of new plays, so we definitely have a lot more stuff going into our first game than we ever have.”

While DeVries was a beast of a blocker and defensive lineman last season, Buchler amassed 1,030 yards from scrimmage and almost 400 more in the return game. The Warriors know that opposing defenses often key on Buchler, so they are working to develop other playmakers to divert the focus.

Albertson is battling junior Ryan Cotter for the starting quarterback position, but if he doesn’t win it, he’ll be the primary wide receiver. He also is a defensive back and the Warriors’ kicker.

“It’s always been that way for me in sports,” Albertson said. “In baseball, I was always the guy who could play every position, so it’s definitely natural for me to be able to play multiple positions.”

The Warriors are geared up and ready — Albertson said he’s been thinking about football since last season ended — but they’ll need their horses to remain healthy to make a solid run.

“We’re fighting numbers, but we always seem to be fighting numbers,” Senseney said. “What we do have is a real core group of guys this year that we feel have been committed to summer, been committed to camp and we feel like they’re doing the right things in and out of football.”

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