Youth and inexperience on offense haven’t slowed the Greenwood Community High School football team.
Neither has a heavy slate of road games.
Obstacles notwithstanding, the Woodmen have raced to a 3-1 start, have a share of the Mid-State Conference lead and ride a three-game winning streak into Friday night’s showdown at league rival Plainfield.
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Not bad for a “rebuilding” team whose best Friday nights are likely still on the horizon.
“We’ve seen improvement from our young kids every week, and we’ve seen better leadership from our older kids,” said coach Mike Campbell, who’s in his 10th season with the Woodmen. “We are a work in progress, and I think that’s what’s made this group so much fun.
“Sometimes they can frustrate you because of their inexperience, but just their attitude towards work and trying to get better has made it very enjoyable.”
So has winning.
After opening the season with a 28-17 loss at Class 6A Perry Meridian, the Class 4A Woodmen haven’t lost. In succession they vanquished county rival Indian Creek and Mid-State opponents Martinsville and Mooresville.
Moreover, the Woodmen have played only once on their home field. That was last week, when they beat Mooresville 23-7.
They won’t play at home again until Sept. 25, when they host Class 3A power Guerin Catholic.
But as evidenced by their impressive start, where the Woodmen play doesn’t seem to matter. The results have been the same: The offense improves, the defense makes strides — and Greenwood wins.
“We have good leaders that have brought everybody together,” senior defensive tackle Jordan Anderson said. “One game at a time, we get better and better.”
With a wealth of young players, particularly on the offensive side, Campbell has taken a “one game at a time” approach to preparation. The offensive line still is getting in sync, sophomore quarterback Seth Gallman still is learning the offense, and the Woodmen, collectively, still are refining and gaining confidence.
As evidenced by the results, the learning curve has been accelerated. Greenwood’s start is its best since 2012, when it finished 9-2.
Yet the Woodmen aren’t taking their success, or any opponent, for granted. If they do, they know they can fall out of the conference race as swiftly as they’ve charged to the head of it.
“We just know that we’re more physical, and we just try to compete with teams,” Anderson said. “We feel that we can compete, and we’ve come out with wins.”
Next up is Class 5A Plainfield (3-1), a traditional Mid-State power that is 1-0 in conference play and coming off a 21-17 win against then-Class 4A No. 10 Roncalli.
“We’re starting to hit the heavy meat our schedule, staring this week with Plainfield,” Campbell said. “We tell them we’re playing one-game seasons, and we’re only as good as our next game. We’re right back on the road again.
“We’re just trying to keep them focused on what’s (immediately) ahead, one game at a time. We’ve got a big picture (vision) for them, but with their youth we want to make sure they stay focused on what’s ahead of them.”
2015 Greenwood schedule
Aug. 21;at Perry Meridian;L 28-17
Aug. 28;at Indian Creek;W 27-21
Sept. 5;at Martinsville;W 28-25
Sept. 11;Mooresville;W 23-7
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.