A high school coach’s third year seems to be the point where the program fully takes on the leader’s philosophy and displays it each day.

Kris Cotterman now enters his third year as the guy in charge of Central High School football, a year after doubling the Wildcats win total from two wins in 2017 to four in 2018.

The mentality for Cotterman starts with winning in the trenches.

“One of the biggest things coaching with the players is that if you’re like-minded, it goes a long way,” Cotterman said. “My first year I started two weeks before the season started so it’s a lot smoother than back then and every year we’ve been better.”

Offensively, three seniors will be holding down the line, part of a returning group of eight starters on the offensive part of the ball.

With a dynamic playmaker behind them in senior Brandon Martin and a few new faces, the line is confident that if they do their job, good things will happen.

“If we get our blocks down, they’re going to be able to run the ball,” Central senior lineman Alfonso Perez said. “We can score touchdowns, we can come up with interceptions. If we just do our job the way we’ve been doing it, we’re going to come up and might make the playoffs, that’s what we’re going for.”

Speaking of Martin, the do-it-all player will be leading the Wildcats’ huddle in 2019 as he takes over at the quarterback position.

Things went pretty well for Central when Martin had the ball in his hands in 2019. He went 16-for-29 with 273 passing yards and three touchdowns, some of those coming on trick plays or designed sweeps the outside where Martin received a pitch and then sent it deep.

Martin stated he has never played quarterback before in his young career, but that isn’t going to stop the senior from taking on the challenge.

“I’m pretty nervous considering I’ve never really played QB in my life, but just ready to step up and do my job,” Martin said. “I learned a lot from Ryley (Roth), just passing to the routes and all that kind of stuff.”

Defensively, the game starts in the trenches as well and Central returns eight starters on that side of the ball.

Senior Austin Allenback returns after leading the Wildcats in tackles with 109 while also posting one sack.

Getting the bodies on the line that are used to each other and have built the trust required between them could be the foundational piece to get Central over the hump and back into the playoffs.

“I just want our line to get better,” Cotterman said on what he wants to see improve the most in 2019. “We have a lot of guys back there that are going to take a lot of pride in that group.

“I just want to see them do great things because they have the potential.”

Chieftain sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at awhite@chieftain.com or on Twitter @ajwrules44.