By Ronald Frazier
Glenwood will find out quickly where the team stands as the Gators go on the road to open the 2018 season in Montgomery against the AISA class AAA defending state champion Monroe Academy Aug. 18 at Huntington College’s football field.
Both teams have graduated key players that played important roles in the 2017 campaign. Gone from the Volunteer squad are the twin brothers Dalton and Griffin McKenzie.
“Those guys were good but they simply reloaded with more strong talent,” said Gibson. “You don’t get better playing weak teams–we need to play the best in order to be where we want to be.”
Glenwood also lost some key players to graduation.
On offense, the Gators will be without John Burnett and 1,000-yard rusher Kayleen Bonds and receivers Christian Clausell and Pittsburgh commit Cameron O’Neill. On defense playmakers Navy Harris, Chad Dykes and Kelsey Allen are gone as well as two-way regular Jack Rhodes.
However, the Glenwood cupboard is far from bare. On offense, starting quarterback Bryce Valero returns and is a threat to run and pass. Trevor Crisco and Cody Krebs, who played through the year return as receivers for Valero. Protecting the quarterback will also be lineman returnees Scott Anderson and Nathan Trzpuc.
In 2017 Head Coach Jason Gibson had high praise for Trzpuc saying that, “He could become the best offensive lineman in the state.”
On defense, Glenwood will be anchored by Randy Bell at linebacker.
“We open with three straight non-conference opponents and this year will be a journey,” said Gibson. “We will be meshing and melding our new players with our returnees.”
Gibson is excited about new players coming to Glenwood that will add to the mixture. Skylar Polumbo, Allandis Boyd, Will Haines on defense and Darrell Monn, former running back at Chattahoochee County will be expected to contribute to the 2018 Gator cause.
The Gators have been practicing since July 27 as the high school season begins at the end of summer and Gibson as taken precautions.
“We start practice at 7 a.m. and have plenty of water breaks. We want to pace ourselves to get ready for the heat,” he pointed out.
One positive for the Gators is the way the team has come together in practice. Gibson was asked what he liked about his 2018 group and he had a quick answer.
“Our team camadarie is good,” he reported.
Following the game against the Volunteers, Glenwood stays on the road for their second contest on Aug. 24 against Lakeside of Eufaula before returning home on the Aug. 31 to play Deerfield-Windsor of Albany.