Due to massive personnel losses from last year’s 10-2 squad that fell to eventual state finalist Cathedral in the sectional championship round, uncertainty surrounded Decatur Central as this season began.
With running back Tyrone Tracy off to Iowa and quarterback Bryce Jefferson at Illinois State, and just one starter back on the offensive line, that side of the ball was the primary concern. But with a tough defense that held the line as the offense found its stride, the Hawks are 6-1 with two games left in the regular season.
Kenny Tracy has done the family name proud with 708 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, 295 yards and six TDs on receptions, and 31 tackles at linebacker.
“He’s a little bit different skill set than Tyrone, not quite as fast but maybe more powerful,” said third-year Decatur Central coach Kyle Enright. “All these touchdowns as our main cog on offense, what he’s done on defense is tough to do. He’s a straight-A student, great leader, really making a name for himself.”
Parker Harrington (910 passing yards, 440 rushing yards, 14 total TDs) has gotten more comfortable at quarterback with each passing week.
“He just kind of runs the show,” Enright said. “We asked him not to turn the ball over, and with 12 touchdowns and just four interceptions throwing the ball, he’s been outstanding.”
Jason Allen Jr. leads the team with 19 catches for 433 yards and three scores at receiver, to go with 36 tackles and three interceptions on defense.
“With teams loading the box to stop our running game, Jason gets some good one-on-one battles with the corner,” Enright said. “He’s a dynamic athlete and the quarterback of our defense.”
Coming off an all-conference campaign a year ago, Cayden Lang took ownership of the O-line as four new starters got accustomed to the job, including Roy Lampkin and Devin Brock, who impressed the past few weeks as the Hawks scored 38, 42 and 40 points in three victories.
Outside linebacker Dylan Renick and Northern Illinois-bound end Chamaar Smith have combined for 98 tackles, including 28 for loss.
“Our defense has a lot of slanting and blitzing, and they’re really good at what they do,” Enright said.
While there have been impressive wins along the way, the Hawks learned plenty from their 18-15 loss at current 5A No. 3 Martinsville, which sits in a three-way tie atop the Mid-State Conference with Decatur Central and 4A No. 9 Mooresville.
“That loss showed what we’ve talked about all year, that the only team that can beat us is us. We beat ourselves that game,” Enright said. “We turned it over six times and committed way too many penalties. Our kids know if they want to play meaningful football well into October and November, they have to clean those things up.”