The Greenwood Community High School football team has no choice but to be road warriors this season.
Coach Mike Campbell’s program opens with consecutive road contests against Perry Meridian and Indian Creek before playing Mid-State Conference opener at Martinsville — hardly the preferred method of attempting to seize immediate momentum.
A fast start is vital if Greenwood hopes to return to its winning ways following back-to-back losing seasons.
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“We want to be able to compete with our schedule, but I really like the demeanor of our team,” said Campbell, who begins his 10th season with a 43-55 record.
“The improvement we’ve seen from the beginning of the summer to now has been great. Our players have done a really nice job so far, but we need to play a game.”
Tailback John Gallman will lead the offense as it takes the field Friday night against Perry Meridian (at Southport’s Perry Stadium). The Woodmen defeated the Falcons 56-28 last season behind Gallman’s 152 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
A 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior, Gallman has his sights set on being Greenwood’s career rushing leader after accumulating 1,136 yards as a sophomore and 884 last season.
Current Franklin College junior running back Kole Stogner is the all-time leader with about 3,100 yards.
Who will hand the ball to Gallman and call plays in the huddle comes down to two quarterbacks in junior AJ Reingardt and sophomore Seth Gallman.
Reingardt holds a slight edge, based on game experience and being one year older; but Campbell expresses complete confidence in both.
“They are both smart kids who know the offense,” Campbell said.
Whoever starts at QB benefits playing behind senior tackle Kyle Nixon (6-1, 235) and junior center Thomas Bowling (5-10, 230), both starters a year ago.
Ryder Burchett, a 6-4, 250-pound junior tackle, is contending for a starting spot.
The same goes for senior guards Kevin Birge (6-0, 190) and Andrew Stuber (5-7, 225), and sophomore guard Joey Craig (5-8, 239).
Receivers Jackson Daugherty and Anthony Carver return after recording 21 and 11 receptions, respectively, last season.
Slated to be Greenwood’s starting fullback is sophomore Brandon Rosado.
The Woodmen’s defensive unit looks to improve after surrendering an average of 26.9 points last season and 35.2 points over the final five games.
Brayton England (5-11, 182), a senior, leads an otherwise youthful linebacking unit. It’s here junior AJ Montgomery (5-10, 185) and sophomore Tim Johns (6-2, 165) are expected to contribute.
Along the Woodmen defensive line are senior tackles Patrick Lowenstein (5-11, 245) and Jordan Anderson (5-10, 235), and sophomore ends Jake Patton (5-10, 236) and Nick Young (5-7, 185).
Greenwood’s secondary features cornerbacks Noah Compton and Daugherty. The safeties are juniors Will Wolf and Dylan Rosado. Handling kicking and punting duties will be juniors Spencer Schmidt and Damon Maynard, respectively.
Campbell likes the mix of personalities and skill sets on his latest Woodmen team.
“I think our ability to work together and having players who can play different positions are our strengths. And we’ve got better depth this season. Our players have been good about showing up and giving themselves the chance to get better,” he said.
Friday;at Perry Meridian;7 p.m.
Aug. 28;at Indian Creek;7 pm.
Sept. 4;at Martinsville;7 p.m.
Sept. 11;Mooresville;7 p.m.
Sept. 18;at Plainfield;7 p.m.
Sept. 25;Guerin Catholic;7 p.m.
Oct. 2;Decatur Central;7 p.m.
Oct. 9;at Franklin;7 p.m.
Oct. 16;Whiteland;7 p.m.