Central, East Hamilton, Red Bank will duke it out again in loaded Region 3-4A

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Central football players take the field for a preseason practice on July 25 in Harrison. The Purple Pounders, who shared the Region 3-4A title last season with East Hamilton and Red Bank, return eight starters on offense and eight on defense.

The Region 3-4A race went down to the wire last football season as Central, East Hamilton and Red Bank all finished 5-1 in league play for a share of the title.

The Purple Pounders, Hurricanes and Lions are expected to battle for the top spot again this season as all three appear loaded for stellar runs.

Central went 6-3 overall in 2021, losing 28-26 in the first round of the playoffs to Macon County to wrap up a season that ranked as one of the program's best this century.

"We woke up the city last season," said senior defensive lineman Chris Nichols, one of 16 returning starters - eight each on offense and defense - for the Pounders.

"We take a lot of pride in playing together as a team. I always knew we were going to have a breakout season because we had so much talent and we put it all together.