Football: Centaurus focused on playoffs, breaking postseason barrier in Season C

Centaurus football head coach Andy Hampton ...
Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
Centaurus football head coach Andy Hampton talks to the team during practices on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Lafayette, Colo.

LAFAYETTE — It has been a long time since the Centaurus football team made the playoffs in 2010, certainly long enough that no player on the Warriors’ current roster has come close to playing in a postseason game.

The Warriors are looking at Season C as an opportunity to change that.

An unusual situation, sure. Different field of competition, of course. An entire new set of challenges to overcome, yeah, why not? But the postseason is the postseason and the Warriors don’t intend to settle for less.

“I’m expecting some real intensity from these guys,” Warriors senior Mike Malone said. “I’ve definitely seen a culture shift in a very positive way. All the guys out here are really hungry for a winning season after the drought. This is definitely a win-hungry team. It would mean everything to make the playoffs. It would be a great testament to how far Centaurus has come.”

Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
BEST2 LAFAYETTE, CO – MARCH 17: Sophomore volleyball player Alexa Lorton waits for practice to begin while Centaurus offensive line coach David Vermillion runs the line through plays in the hallway during a team practices on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Lafayette, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

After opting out of the fall football season, the Warriors are one of many teams that will compete during a unique springtime football campaign. They will also play in a new 4A North League that includes Denver North, George Washington, Kennedy, Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, all teams in the Denver metropolitan area.

In 2019, the Warriors finished the season with a 2-8 record and went winless in conference play. Centaurus also hasn’t won more than four games since the team went 7-3 in 2015, and even that didn’t land them a postseason berth.

Coming into Season C, however, Centaurus received 13 votes in the preseason coaches ranking poll and it would appear the team has a good chance of experiencing postseason play.

“We think we’re going to be a good team,” Warriors senior Eddie Zygowicz said. “We have some good upperclassmen who have some good experience. It’s just exciting to have a season at all so we’re aiming at making playoffs and making a run there.”

Back in 2019, sophomore quarterback Nathen Rodriguez led the Warriors in passing yards and passing touchdowns. Another sophomore, Anthony Medina, led the team in rushing yards. And defensively, sophomore Coleman Teasdale led the Warriors in total tackles. Even in the kicking game, the Warriors leaned on sophomore Harian Aldama to get the job done.

With such a young core returning to the fold, upperclassmen like senior fullback Mason Mutz are focused on guiding the Warriors in the hope of becoming a balanced team that can compete with anyone in Season C.

“We’re down a couple running backs this year and we have a younger O-Line, but we’re looking forward to seeing what our young guys can do,” Mutz said. “We’re trying to get up to a 50-50 balance on offense this year so we can give teams a tougher challenge of defending us.”

The Centaurus football players have felt overlooked and undervalued for a long time. But with a unique opportunity on the horizon, the Warriors are focused on breaking through.

Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
BEST1 LAFAYETTE, CO – MARCH 17: Centaurus senior defensive back and receiver Tyrese McClinton El runs through Oklahoma drills in the parking lot during a team practice on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Lafayette, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)