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LAFAYETTE, CO - SEPTEMBER 9: Boulder junior Ethan Kunkel (23) tackles Centaurus junior tight end Zack Wojtalik (89) on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Lafayette, Colo. (Daily Camera file photo)
LAFAYETTE, CO – SEPTEMBER 9: Boulder junior Ethan Kunkel (23) tackles Centaurus junior tight end Zack Wojtalik (89) on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Lafayette, Colo. (Daily Camera file photo)
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This summer, BoCoPreps.com will take an early look at each area football team ahead of the fall season and in this installment, we look at the Centaurus Warriors.

Among excitement surrounding the football program at Centaurus High School is junior quarterback Chance Wood, coach Andy Hampton said last week.

Going into his fifth year in charge, Hampton praised his young quarterback ahead of the fall season that starts next month. He said Wood has not only impressed him this offseason, but also the college coaches at Western Colorado University, where the Warriors had their team camp over the summer.

“He’s matured a lot regarding knowledge of the game and has just stepped into that role of being a leader and being the guy in the huddle,” Hampton said by phone. “I think he’s poised for a pretty good year.”

A year ago, Wood started four games and shared QB duties alongside outgoing senior Coleman Teasdale, who got slightly more work in the passing game.

Yet it was Wood’s raw passing numbers that were largely better as he posted nearly 1,000 yards in the air on just 85 attempts, while completing 68% of his throws. The most needing-to-improve stat to his otherwise sound line came in the turnovers department, where he threw nine picks to just four TDs.

That ratio will likely need to improve for the Warriors to take a step forward following six straight losing seasons.

“He’s gotten much better at reading defenses and all the physical attributes there are solid,” Hampton said when talking about the QB. “The Western coaches were interested in him. They liked how he held himself and carried himself.”

The stalwart

Senior Ethan Roeder, the hands that very well could be key in the development of Wood and the Warriors’ emerging pass game in general.

The receiver has averaged 12.5 yards per reception across two seasons, and last year he caught at least one ball in eight games while scoring twice.

His Hudl player profile tagline is, “Great hands and can run any route.”

Star in the making

Junior Ben Mischke. The three-sport athlete, per Hampton, was key to the Warriors’ rushing attack a season ago, where he accumulated 688 yards on the ground and four TDs.

Hampton said the junior will again be the centerfold in the running game in 2022 while possibly taking on some responsibility on the defensive side of the ball.

Mischke averaged six yards a carry last fall.

Solidifying a presence

Another name Hampton was big on this offseason was senior Zack Wojtalik, who he said is currently getting looks from D-II and D-III programs.

Last fall, Wojtalik — who is also an elite snowboarder and a big brain in the classroom — played some tight end (where he caught five passes for 54 yards) as well as had time at defensive end.

Hampton said the 6-foot-3, 192-pound senior has “serious upside” going forward.

“A really smart player and we’re looking for him to have one of those surprise senior breakout seasons,” the coach said. “He’s right on schedule for that to happen.”

With him and others at the forefront, Hampton said the program is looking for a long-awaited winning season in 2022. If all the pieces fit, he said contending for a league championship is also a hope.

“It’s been awhile since Centaurus has had a winning season,” he said. “We’ve been on the doorstep. The last couple years we’ve been right there.”

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