Football: 2017 Aurora Central football team at a glance

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Senior quarterback Chris Parrish Jr. and junior center Thaddeus Veasley should be key components as the Aurora Central football team seeks to improve on last season’s 5-5 record. Head coach Jamarr Kerney is encouraged by the young group he has in his second season.  (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | The 2017 Aurora Central football team at a glance:

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

AURORA CENTRAL

Mascot: Trojans

Coach: Jamarr Kerney

Last year: 5-5 overall (0-5 in Mount Antero League), missed Class 5A playoffs

FOOTBALL 2017: AURORA CENTRAL TROJANS

2017 season outlook: Coach Jamarr Kerney and his Aurora Central football team got off to a 5-0 start last season before a frustrating loss to then-winless Westminster in the Mount Antero League opener sent the season in the opposite direction that ended in a .500 final record. Kerney believes his returning players learned a lot from that difficult stretch and know what they need to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the 2017 season. The Trojans have a good base of young players this season that are the continued fruits of the Futures program that has been in the Aurora Public Schools district for the past few years. Aurora Central has one returning All-Mount Antero League performer in junior Michael Thompson, a 6-foot-, 215-pound linebacker who tied for the team lead in tackles last season. Thompson will play more offense this season as a tight end and will be one of the targets for one of two quarterbacks who might see time under center in senior Chris Parrish Jr. and junior Adonis Cannon. Kerney sees positives in the game’s of both players who will try to replace graduated two-year starter Jalil Grimes. Aurora Central graduated its top four rushers from last season and sophomore running back Chau Smith is one of the players likely to pick up much of the slack, while the Trojans look bigger and stronger across the front with 315-pounder Thaddeus Veasley and senior Rayshawn Washington at the heart of it. Defensively, the Trojans should be a fast and physical unit that takes its lead from Thompson, while Veasley will take up blockers in the middle, sophomore Avery Rivers is active as a defensive end and sophomore Charlie Sneed IV packs a punch from the safety position. Off the field, Kerney’s group has been active in the community in the offseason and worked with organizations such as the Salvation Army and plan to read books to children in schools during the season. 

Schedule breakdown: The Trojans face the exact same schedule as they had last season that includes two teams that made last season’s Class 5A state playoffs in Regis Jesuit and Bear Creek, which they face back-to-back Oct. 20 and Oct. 28. Aside from its annual rivalry game with Hinkley (Sept. 29), Aurora Central will certainly be up for their Oct. 6 visit to Westminster as it seeks to set the right tone for Mount Antero League play.

AURORA CENTRAL SCHEDULE

Home games bold and uppercased (home games played at Aurora Public Schools Stadium): Thursday, Aug. 31 — CORONADO, 6:30 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 8 — at Northglenn, 6 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 15 — SMOKY HILL, 6:30 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 22 — at Mountain Range, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 29 — HINKLEY, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 6 — at Westminster, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 13 — at Legacy, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 20 — at Regis Jesuit, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 28 — BEAR CREEK, noon; Saturday, Nov. 4 — DOUGLAS COUNTY, 11 a.m.