Second-year Central Cambria High School football coach Sam Shutty believes that senior Brandon Long can become one of this area's elite wide receivers this season.
"I think that Brandon's going to be the premier receiver in the Laurel Highlands [Athletic Conference] this year,'' Shutty said. "He did well with the opportunities he got last year, and we're going to try to get him some more opportunities this year. Brandon is one of a group of receivers that we have who can catch the ball and run with it well. We're obviously going to be trying to get the ball into their hands in the quickest, easiest way possible.''
Long was a member of Central Cambria's 3200-meter relay team that qualified for the PIAA Class AA state track and field meet this past spring at Shippensburg University. Obviously, his speed is one of his best assets on the football field.
"I think my speed and hands are pretty good,'' said the 5-foot-9, 158-pound Long, who will be a two-year starter at both wide receiver and cornerback for Central Cambria. "Coach [Shutty] said that he's going to try to get me the ball this year.''
Central Cambria won just two of 10 games last season, when the players were adjusting to an entire new coaching system. Long believes those adjustments have been made successfully, and brighter days are ahead for the Red Devils.
"Last year was disappointing,'' Long said. "We needed to get used to the coaching staff and the plays."
Shutty agreed that last season was a disappointing one for Central Cambria.
"We were coming off the offseason on all cylinders, but it seemed to be just one disappointment after another,'' Shutty said. "We couldn't put the blame on any one person."
This season is a new season, and veteran players like Long are hoping to make it a better one at Central Cambria.
"I'm just looking forward to having fun this year,'' he said.