2018 Football Preview: Center Line High

2017 Record: 5-4

By: C & G Sports Staff | Warren Weekly | Published August 3, 2018


Team name: Center Line High Panthers
Last season’s record: 5-4
League: Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division
Returning starters: 14
First game: noon Aug. 25 vs. Madison Heights Madison at Wayne State University

Offensive keys:
Center Line High coach Ben Torres, who is in his fourth year leading the program, said the play of his 20 seniors will determine how the team performs this season.

“Their leadership and knowing what to expect from themselves and everyone else will help us immensely,” Torres said.

A group of those seniors — quarterback Nick Hastings, offensive linemen Jermond Harshaw and George Talley, tight end Davon Sears, and running back Diante Taylor — are expected to lead the offense.

A lack of depth could hurt the team as the season goes along, Torres said, making health vital.

Center Line put up 25.4 points per game last season.

Defensive keys:
Torres said the hunger of the eight returning defensive starters could push the unit to another level. Again, depth could give the Panthers problems later in the season, Torres said.

Hastings (defensive back), Harshaw (linebacker), Talley (defensive line), Sears (defensive line) and Taylor (defensive back) will anchor the unit.

Center Line allowed 24.7 points per game in 2017.

Coach’s outlook:
“This year we have high aspirations with how many returning starters we have,” Torres said. “We’re expecting big things. We want to compete for a league championship and for a spot in the playoffs. We think that with the guys we have coming back, we can put ourselves in a position to accomplish those things. We’re hopeful for a fun, exciting year.”
— Jason Carmel Davis



vs. Madison Heights Madison (12-1) — noon Aug. 25
Madison has won each of the last three meetings, outscoring Center Line 134-8 in those games. Overall, the Eagles lead the series 13-10. This edition of the series takes place at Wayne State University as part of the 2018 Prep Kickoff Classic.

at Sterling Heights High (0-9) — 7 p.m. Aug. 30
Center Line is 2-6 all-time against Sterling Heights, with all the matchups having taken place before 1980. The Panthers finished above .500 last season for the first time since 2005.

vs. Clawson High (2-7) — 7 p.m. Sept. 7
The all-time series with these two schools has been tight, with Center Line narrowly leading Clawson 19-17-2. The teams last met in 2015. Clawson has won five of the last six meetings.

vs. Petoskey High (3-6) — 4 p.m. Sept. 15
This is the first matchup for Center Line against Petoskey. The Northmen have gone 4-14 over the last two years after finishing each of the previous eight seasons above .500.  

vs. Warren Lincoln (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 21
The Week 5 matchup is the 69th between the rivals. Lincoln leads the series 36-32, though Center Line won last year’s matchup 20-14. Lincoln has won seven of the last 10 meetings.

vs. St. Clair High (2-7) — 7 p.m. Sept. 28
This is the first meeting between the programs since 2007. The Panthers lead the series 4-3. 

at New Haven High (3-6) — 7 p.m. Oct. 5
In 10 total meetings, each team has won five. Last season, it was the Panthers earning the 34-20 victory. New Haven is looking for its first .500 or better finish since 2006.

vs. Madison Heights Lamphere (5-5) — 7 p.m. Oct. 12
Lamphere has won four of the last six meetings to take a 13-9 series lead. The Rams made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2010.

at Marysville High (4-5) — 7 p.m. Oct. 19
It’s the first meeting between Center Line and Marysville since 2009 — a 60-8 Vikings romp. Marysville leads the series 7-5.

Schedule courtesy of www.mhsaa.com, historical data from www.michigan-football.com and helmets provided by www.michiganhelmetproject.org