West Allis Central Bulldogs
Better health is primary goal on team that features talent, experience
West Allis - After a year in which his team's injuries nearly reached epidemic status, West Allis Central head football coach Dax Rodriguez is hoping some good fortune is coming his way.
The Bulldogs had a hard time keeping their players standing last season and were particularly hard hit at quarterback, where they were starting their fourth-stringer by the end of the season.
One of the casualties was senior Dakota Behrs, and now Rodriguez wants Behrs to be able to show his wares this time around.
"He has a strong arm," the coach said, "and is the fastest guy on the team in the 40. He knows our offense, since he started a couple of games last season."
Behrs won the starting job over sophomore Will Konecny.
"Konecny is an athletic, throw-on-the-run guy, while Behrs is more of a dropback passer," Rodriguez said.
Behrs will throw to senior Tre Nowaczynski, junior Darren Walker and senior Devan Finney, a starter last season.
Central's main running backs are junior Jason Alvarez and junior Clint Johnson, and the Bulldogs also have combination running backs/tight ends in senior Waige Fischer, who ran for over 500 yards in 2011, and junior Dushun Glover.
"We're as set as we can be in the backfield," Rodriguez said.
The Bulldogs' offensive line is highlighted by senior guard Matt Somppi, who stands at an imposing 6 feet, 4 inches and 320 pounds and is getting some NCAA Division II looks, Rodriguez said. He is moving over from tackle.
The line, which also features senior tackle Eric Ausbon and senior guard Troy Evans, has four players weighing at least 270 pounds.
Fischer and Finney will be at linebacker, and both saw extensive time last season, the coach said. Junior Adonis Ancira-Murillo and senior Tong Vang will key the defensive line.
"He is a good nose tackle," Rodriguez said of Ancira-Murillo, "and he set every bench and squat (lifting) record at Central."
The secondary includes Glover, who Rodriguez said will be Central's best safety since John Meier in the late 1990s; senior cornerback Josh Neary, who totaled four interceptions last season; and senior Jaquan Carson at cornerback.
"I like our relative size and physicality," the coach said. "We scrimmaged Oak Creek and matched up well. We will be physical on both sides of the ball.
"Our quarterback play should be the best it's been in years, and we have more very good players than in the recent past."
Now if those players can just remain healthy - unlike last season - Central could find itself contending for a WIAA playoff spot.
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