Century made the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons last fall, and the Knights' expectations have increased with a new coach at the helm.
Todd Edmondson, a former all-county standout, took over for Jim Holzman, who coached the Knights for eight years prior to stepping down in December. Edmondson coached at North Carroll for two years and in 2016 he joined South Carroll's staff as the team'running backs coach.
The 2002 Westminster grad helped North Carroll to a 9-3 record in 2014, his first season as coach, which included the program's first home playoff victory time in program history to reach the Class 1A West Region final in 2014.
Edmondson is anticipating an exciting year with Century and is eager to get underway.
"It's great, the enthusiasm is there and the way the kids are coachable is there," Edmondson said. "They want to learn which is great for a coach and it just makes it fun. I told them when I first got the job that football is fun for me so we want them to have fun and if they're having fun, that's what's most important."
Century had quite the season last year (8-2, 4-1 county) as one of two Carroll teams to make a playoff appearance. In Week 10, the Knights fell to Liberty 35-0 in the "Freedom Bell" crosstown rivalry game that crowned the Lions county champions.
A handful of Century Times first-team all-countians graduated last year — Jack Akers, Bryce Harrell, Jake Lettiere, Anthony Perrone, and Sam Rothstein. Harrell and Perrone led the Knights in receptions last season, and Perrone graduated as the team's all-time interceptions leader (nine). Akers was third in the county with 110 tackles on the defensive line.
Edmondson and his coaching staff are implementing similar tactics to what he had as North Carroll's coach, with minor adjustments.
"It's going to be similar to what I had before, but we're gearing it to specific positions and what I feel where we can exploit other teams," Edmondson said. "[We'll be] across the board on offense, pro style with a lot of different formations and we'll let this guy do his thing, so that's the name of the game."
"This guy" is quarterback Collin Ende. The senior returns after a stellar junior season in which he threw for 1,552 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 454 yards and seven scores, good for first team all-county honors.
"I have really high expectations for myself, especially with the year I had last year," Ende said. "I thought I had a good year and my expectations are even higher this year. I want to beat what I did last year."
Look for senior running back Stephen Shinholt to make some noise again this year. Shinholt led the team with 152 carries for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. Ende and Shinholt are the only Knights returning from last year's all-county team, but they will be joined by veteran talent that includes senior fullbacks/linebackers Nick Dahl and Jake Schneider, senior linemen Jack King, Trevor Grimes-Mann, and senior wide receiver Jimmy Wiley.
Century opens the season at St. Mary's of Annapolis on Friday at 7 p.m. They face Williamsport and North Hagerstown in Weeks 2 and 3 before opening county play at home against Francis Scott Key.
Grimes-Mann had nothing but positive words to commemorate the start of the season at the team's practice on Aug. 16.
"It's good, especially for it being our senior year," Grimes-Mann said. "It's the last time we'll get to play with each other so it's exciting to be here as a group one more time."