When his junior season ended before it started, Trey Hunter continued to immerse himself in football.

A left tackle for the Central Crossing High School football team, Hunter tore his right ACL on an inside run during two-a-days. He played on it for another week until persistent swelling revealed the actual injury, but remained around the team as much as possible the rest of the season.

On most game nights, Hunter watched the action from the press box.

"Last year was really hard not being out there, seeing us struggle like we did," Hunter said of a 2-8 season that snapped a two-year streak of playoff appearances. "What helped me was being up in the (press) box and getting a bird's eye view of what goes on. It advanced my understanding of the game. I'd never had that view before. It was cool to see stuff in real time, formations and how the defense adjusts.

"It did help me. I am able to recognize blitzes and different defensive packages a lot more."

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Hunter is one of the linchpins of a line that also includes right guard Luis Bolanos-Cruz, center Cameron Hyde, left guard Bobby Logan and right guard Daquan Taynor.

Central Crossing is averaging 16.2 points and 215.2 yards per game, and is 2-5 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Central Division entering a Friday, Oct. 13, game at Westland.

"He has great speed and pulls really well," quarterback Ben Bohne said of Hunter. "He does great on pass blocking. I don't really get pressure coming from his side."

Hunter started on the line as a sophomore, and coach Trevor White said he immediately was impressed by Hunter's work ethic regardless of location.

"Not only is he a hard worker, but he helps out outside the school," White said. "He's never shy about getting involved in fundraising and that sort of thing that supports the program. I noticed his grades right off the bat. He is not a guy we have to worry about. That he didn't play last year was not evident at all in the winter.

"He has a good head on his shoulder, and he understands what we are trying to do. He is one of those kids you can count on to do the right thing and do it pretty well."

Hunter, who carries a 3.8 GPA, said the transition to White's system from that of former coach Chris Harr largely was seamless.

"There weren't a lot of new things, more so just new terminology," Hunter said. "I don't like the results of most of our games so far, but I like our progress."

Central Crossing has not scored in either of its first two OCC-Central games, losses to Hilliard Davidson (40-0 on Sept. 29) and Dublin Coffman (35-0 on Oct. 6). The Comets were held to 103 total yards against the Shamrocks but hung in for a while, giving up seven points in each of the first three quarters.

Last year's starting quarterback, Kameron Peck, completed four of five passes for 38 yards in his first start of the season. Peck filled in for Bohne, who recently tweaked a right labrum injury suffered during baseball season.

White hoped Bohne would be able to return this week.

Westland fell to 1-6 overall and 0-2 in the league with a 27-6 loss at Marysville on Oct. 6. The Cougars were held to minus-13 yards rushing in losing their fourth consecutive game.

Central Crossing is 8-0 in the series, including a 43-35 win last year.

"No matter how good or bad we're doing, Westland is always a good game," Bohne said. "It's up there with the Grove City rivalry, but I think Westland has actually been a bigger rivalry for a longer time. That has a little more tradition."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave