The Century Patriots have a season-defining game against Bismarck on Wednesday Night, but their advantage may come from their most consistent player.
Dependability is a word that comes to mind for the 5′ 11″ 195 pounds senior Cade Garcia. The running back over the past two seasons has only fumbled the ball once in a starting role.
“I think that’s just the number one important thing, to be able to hold onto the ball,” says Garcia. “So in practice, we’re always doing drills of ball security from the year before. In pregame, our drills are ball security as well so that’s where I’ve gotten most of my strength.”
On top of just one fumble in two seasons, no one touches the ball more than Garcia in the WDA, leading the conference in carries through five games.
“You look at the number of carries over the last two, two and a half years,” says head coach Ron Wingenbach. “Phenomenal amount, and he’s very, very durable. Gets up after every play. Those are some things that, as a high school coach, you really relish.”
The skills are there physically, but ball protection goes beyond just the ability to carry the ball.
“It’s definately mental,” Garcia says. “It’s definately both but more mental. Once one happens, you gotta get onto the next play, don’t worry about it.”
The Century offense has run through Cade for most of the season, however, finding a new dimension is the focus ahead of the postseason.
“I think we can show a lot more than we have been showing,” says Garcia. “We haven’t gotten our passing down yet but we’ll get there.”
“We know we have to develop a little more consistency in our passing game,” Wingenbach says. “So that’s been an area where we’ve tried to hone in on these last four weeks.”
Century hasn’t had the need to throw the ball because of large leads in their games this year, but coach Wingenbach knows there will need to be a balance against tougher defenses in the postseason.