Glenwood coach Jason Gibson has a positive outlook for his Gator 2020 team. In this year of health crisis and concern for the athletes, the coach has a simple motto for on the field.
“In order to be the best (team) you have to play the best,” Coach Gibson is known to say.
No truer words could be spoken when the Gators open their 2020 campaign against no other than the team they faced in the 2019 state championship game, Bessemer Academy tomorrow night at Sammy Howard Field at 8 p.m.
“‘They lost a lot of people from last year’s title team but have several players coming back and will be a talented team. It will really show where we are and what we need to work on,” Gibson pointed out.
Those Bessemer players include halfback Jarvis Dancy, 114 yards and a TD in the title game and QB PJ McFarland who threw two turndowns to both receivers who are also back Jacob Barry and Josh McFarland.
“It’s just like any other season, we have a lot of new faces that we feel will make a difference and we will know what to expect after we get games under our belt, so we are playing tough competition,” Gibson said.
Besides Bessemer, the Gators will play another perennial class AA power Escambia on the road the 28th and then return home for a key showdown with arch-rival Lee-Scott on Sept. 4. The schedule for 2020 has a lot of new faces and some familiar as regions were realigned. Gone from the regular season schedule are Morgan and Tuscaloosa with new school Valiant Cross, Hooper and Pike Liberal Arts now in the region. Glenwood last played Pike in the 2018 playoffs.
For 2020 one returning player will be a key in the Gators offensive scheme. Kye Robichaux returns and is full healthy after being unable to do anything in the title game of 2019 but catch two passes out of the backfield.
“Kye is in great shape,” Gibson said of his returning senior. “He has trimmed down and is much more flexible and we are hoping for big things from him this year. He could be the best back in AISA.”
Despite the injuries in 2019, Robichaux ran for 1000 yards and scored 15 touchdowns for the Gators. An interesting addition to the Glenwood special teams is senior Ethan Craw. The 6-4 senior was the leading scorer in AISA soccer before the pandemic shut the season down and was also a starter on the basketball team. Craw’s soccer skills are relating well to the football kicking game.
“With Craw and Garrett Hall, I feel we have our best special teams at Glenwood I have had since I came here,” Gibson said of his two special teams’ players. “Craw can punt and hits booming kickoffs for touchbacks to eliminate the return game and Garrett is so accurate on his kicks and was key in our victory over Tuscaloosa last year in the playoffs when he hit a kick just before the half.”
Trent Edwards and BJ Snellgrove are returning and will pace the Gator defense and center Will Boatner returns to stabilize the offensive line. Glenwood has a total of 21 seniors but several of those players, like Hunter Deason and Kody Krebs, did not play on the varsity in 2019. Added to that are transfers DJ Jones, AJ Harris, and Jay Sinclair.
“We have a lot of new components that will need to play together,” Gibson said. “Our guys are ready to start playing where it counts.”