ALBION, Ind. (WANE) – Central Noble may compete in the NECC small school division, but they are no strangers to competing against big time opponents.

In his second season as head coach, Hayden Kilgore led the Cougars to a 8-3 record, their best record since the 2017 season. Now Kilgore hopes the foundation has been set to sustain a winning culture in Albion.

“We’ve kind of looked at how do you close the gap between the top tier and us,” Kilgore said. “Right now, that’s been our saying this offseason – “Close the gap” – so that we can close it between us and the top of the conference.”

Kilgore loses 13 seniors to graduation, leaving opportunities for younger players to step up. As for this year’s seniors, Blake Weeks returns to anchor the offensive and defensive lines. Out wide, receiver Landen Vice hopes to see his production improve in his final season with the Cougars.

Central Noble opens the season against NECC foe West Noble on Aug. 19.