When Central York football coach Brad Livingston watches Breaun Randle run, he's reminded of three Panther running backs who preceded Randle.
"Breaun has the explosiveness of D.J. Harrison," Livingston said. "Charles Anderson was a big back who ran power stuff, and Breaun's done that for us, and like Marquis (Fells), Breaun can make cuts in the hole."
Harrison, Anderson and Fells were outstanding players for the Panthers. All three earned York-Adams Division I Player of the Year honors in their senior years.
Randle, a 5-foot, 9-inch, 170-pound senior, was a teammate with Fells, and he watched Harrison and Anderson play.
"I saw D.J. and Charles play when I was in middle school," he said. "D.J., Charles and Marquis, they were all pretty good guys. They achieved a lot, and I saw how hard they worked to get there."
Randle, who is averaging 7.7 yards a carry (95 carries for 731 yards) is honored to carry on Central's running back legacy, although he wasn't even thinking about that when training camp opened in August.
"At first, I didn't know I was going to be a running back," said Randle, who was a starting defensive end who earned second-team All-Division I honors as a junior. "I knew I would play a little (at running back), but I knew Jay (Stone) was going to take the load most of the time. When he got hurt, I was the one to go to."
Randle said he was "awestruck" when given the opportunity to be the main running back.
"It's a really good feeling knowing your teammates trust you and knowing you can get the job done together," he said.
Randle and his teammates are preparing for Friday night's Division I opener against Spring Grove. The Rockets' head coach, Russ Stoner, spent 16 years as an assistant at Central. When the teams met last year at Spring Grove's Papermakers' Stadium, the Rockets won a 41-34 shootout.
"I played on that team last year, and it was disappointing for me to lose that game," Randle said. "We're definitely looking to come out here and be resilient on the defensive end."
When the Panthers have the ball, they'll look to establish the running game.
"For a while, we were trying to find the right players for the right positions, but now I'm starting to feel good about this team," Randle said.
Livingston feels the key to victory for the Panthers is preventing Spring Grove from executing big plays.
"We have to take care to watch No. 41 (Jeff Delaughter). He's a nice little running back, and he can scoot," Livingston said. "Their quarterback (Seth Hildebrand) does a great job for them, and they have receivers who can go and get the ball."
The Panthers' veteran coach said his team has played very well at times, but it still hasn't played well for four quarters.
"We're still making a lot of mental errors, things like lining up wrong," he said. "A lot of the stuff is fixable. It will be interesting to see what happens if we play a complete game."
Livingston said he hasn't spoken as much with Stoner as he did in Stoner's first year with the Rockets (2011). They'll almost certainly get together on Friday night -- after the game.
The game may be just the first of five league games, but with the coaching connection, Central and Spring Grove have developed a rivalry, which will add to the intensity level on Friday night.
"It's kind of hectic this week at practice," Randle said. "We're trying to prepare mentally to lay a licking on them. We're trying to get better for this game, but also for the games beyond this week."
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin email@example.com.