Meet the Central High Lions
Published 11:27 pm Monday, August 21, 2023
Central High School in Hayneville will field the Lions’ first game of the season against Beauregard High School in Opelika on Sept.1. The game marks the team’s second season under head coach Corvin Johnson, who works to help players grow and improve on and off the field.
“My expectation for this season is for my guys to continue to grow and get better in the game of football and in life as well,” Johnson said.
Tiger play begins with center Rodarius Seawright, Johnson explained. The junior enjoys a close relationship with the team’s quarterback, his cousin Dekjuan McCall, which allows them to snap the ball into play effectively.
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“If I can’t get the ball back, then there can’t be any play,” Seawright said. “I really hope we make it to the playoffs. It would be the first time in history.”
In his first year at Central, Johnson said the adjustment was a bit rocky and players needed time to learn to trust him.
“The players were in love with coach [Michael Perry],” Johnson said. “Starting out, participation was down, but once they saw I was genuine and they saw I had that same love for them, the kids started to really buy in, and the program started to grow.”
Senior Journey Harris serves as offensive and defensive lineman and sees his role as a leader who must set a positive example for his teammates.
“The role I assume is to lead the team,” Harris said. “To just keep them in school, encourage them to be on time, make good grades in general. They’ve got to have the grades to play because it’s no class, no play.”
The Lions have a mantra coaches and players repeat as a reminder of their ability to achieve their personal and athletic goals.
“We say it all the time, ‘We believe,’” Johnson said. “We believe that we can accomplish and achieve anything we set out to do.”
Tremayne McPherson plays offensive and defensive lineman and has played that position on school teams since his seventh-grade season. After high school, McPherson is hoping to coach and mentor student-athletes.
“I’m the person who’s going to make sure Lee [Moore] gets his 2,000 yards this season,” McPherson said. “I grew up without a father. The coaches are my father figures, so I want to do what they did for me.”
Moore, a sophomore, plays running back and confirmed his goal this year is to run the ball at least 2,000 yards.
“I can’t even explain the excitement [of making a touchdown],” Moore said. “All those people trying to attack me, it’s like a rush.”
According to Johnson, quarterback Dekjuan McCall, No. 2, has played the position before, but this year the coach is asking him to lead the team to a winning season.
“I’m going to be demanding him not to lose [the games],” Johnson said. “We are going to put him in the position to be successful.”
McCall, a senior, plays quarterback for the first time this year and wants to lead the time to the state playoffs.
“I want to lead,” McCall said. “I want to show determination, by showing up, and motivation, a love for the game, to motivate myself and others.”
Ja’Marcus Rudolph, No. 4, is a junior who plays wide receiver and defensive back, helping the team reach victory by mentally preparing himself for every game.
“If you mentally prepare yourself, you’ll be ready,” Rudolph said. “Football is a man’s sport and I tell people you have to just grind and be determined to win.”
Junior Iyanis Wallace is the Lions’ wide receiver. He works to win by keeping his eye on the ball.
“I look the ball in,” Wallace said. “If I keep my focus on the ball, it’s easy for me to catch the ball.”
Eron Foster, No. 0, plays for the Lions as linebacker, running back and tight end. Foster is in his second season playing with the Lions.
“My role is stopping,” Foster said. “Stopping [the other team’s] runs and passing, covering the middle, the hooks and the curls.”
Johnson said the team has Loachapoka High School in its sights. A win against the Indians could position the Lions for an area and, perhaps, a state championship title.
“If we can win the area, it would be the first time it has happened in school history,” Johnson said. “I think this group deserves it more than anybody because of the amount of work they’ve put in. They have done everything we asked them to do.”