CHS alum steps in as head coach

These seniors and returning letter-winners will form a solid core for first-year Centre football coach Matt Warta: front row (from left) Max Svoboda, Brendan Bina, Dylan Deines, Cole Methvin, Daniel Rudolph, Alex Stika; (back row) Xavier Espinoza, Cody Svoboda, Jacob Bittle, Kyle Naerebout. 
These seniors and returning letter-winners will form a solid core for first-year Centre football coach Matt Warta: front row (from left) Max Svoboda, Brendan Bina, Dylan Deines, Cole Methvin, Daniel Rudolph, Alex Stika; (back row) Xavier Espinoza, Cody Svoboda, Jacob Bittle, Kyle Naerebout. 
First-year coach Matt Warta will lead the Centre football program this fall.

Warta is no stranger to Cougar football. A 1999 grad, he was a defensive end on Centre’s 1997 state championship squad. In his first season as coach, Warta will look to improve upon last year’s 4-6 record with the aid of seven varsity veterans. Three seniors headline Centre’s returning starters.

Cole Methvin will be the signal-caller again. The 6-foot, 170-pounder also will contribute defensively at linebacker or cornerback.

Brendon Bina (6-2, 225) returns to anchor the offensive and defensive lines and serve as long snapper, while Dylan Deines (6-3, 180) play wide receiver and cornerback again.

Three juniors return with starting experience: tight end and defensive lineman Cody Svoboda (6-4, 210); running back and linebacker Max Svoboda (5-8, 185); and center Jacob Bittle (5-11, 275).

Centre’s remaining starter is sophomore offensive and defensive lineman Kyle Naerebout (6-1, 280) who will play special teams.

Sophomore Xavier Espinoza (5-10, 145) returns and is expected to contribute at split end, safety and as a kick returner.

Two freshmen to watch are Jensen Riffel (5-10, 185) at fullback and middle linebacker; and Braxton Smith (5-11, 170) at backup quarterback and possibly elsewhere too, Warta said.

“I have a great group of kids,” the Cougar coach said. “If they come together as one team unit, minimize mistakes, and lay it all out on the field, we should do OK. We have four new teams on our schedule and we are in a new district, so that will make things very interesting.”

Warta said he wants his athletes to give their best effort and enjoy the game.

“I am very excited for this upcoming football season,” he said. “I have a great group of young student athletes. Regardless of how the season ends, I want our athletes to enjoy the game of football while giving their best effort out there.”

Centre will open the season at Little River Friday. The Cougars’ home-opener will be Sept. 9 versus Goessel.