An 11-week roller-coaster ride would be the best way to describe the Greenwood Community High School’s football team’s season in 2013.
A loss, a victory, a loss, a victory, and so on.
The Woodmen never dropped two straight games but couldn’t put two wins together, either.
“Last year, we learned to not get too high after a win and not too low after a loss,” coach Mike Campbell said. “Our goal is to avoid back-to-back bad games; and even though we did that, we need to be putting together back-to-back good weeks.”
If the Woodmen hope to improve on their 5-6 season of a year ago, they’ll need to tighten their chin straps against a potent neighbor in visiting Perry Meridian in Friday’s season-opener.
Greenwood then will have to compete with the likes of strong Mid-State Conference foes such as Martinsville, Plainfield, Decatur Central and county rival Whiteland on a schedule that’s plenty challenging.
Thus far, Campbell likes what he’s seen in terms of attitude and work ethic in practices.
“We’re always digging for a little more,” he said, “but we’ve been really pleased with their ability to accept coaching and execute what they’ve been taught.”
The Woodmen’s starting lineups will be retooled considerably this fall, with five starters back on both offense and defense.
Back to direct the offense is senior quarterback Tanner Skeel.
“He had a productive offseason,” Campbell said. “He’s gotten a lot stronger and has a solid grasp of the offense.”
Skeel will be handing off mainly to junior running back John Gallman.
“We’ll be expecting big things from him,” Campbell said. “He’s one of our strongest kids; he’s explosive, and he’s one of our smartest kids.”
His top passing targets are juniors Jackson Daugherty and Anthony Carver, whom their coach describes as solid wide receivers and edge blockers.
Campbell’s main change on his offensive line is the moving of senior Dayan Smith from guard to left tackle.
On the defensive side, Greenwood is counting on senior Paul Proctor and junior Ethan Smith to anchor the defensive line.
“As good of football players as they are, they’re even better kids,” Campbell said. “They are the true meaning of the term student-athletes, and they’re great team leaders.”
As for the team’s linebacker corps, the Woodmen have senior Marty Wituszynski back as a strong returning member but will need junior linebacker and running back Brayton England to step up as he steps into big shoes.
“(Wituszynski) is a returning starter,” Campbell said. “He’s a good open-field tackler, and so he does a good job on special teams.”
Greenwood certainly will miss Austin Montgomery, who was solid on both sides of the line last season and, as Campbell said, “did so much.”
From his linebacker spot, Montgomery piled up 111 tackles his senior season, which was second most in the county, and ran the football effectively on offense.
He graduated as Greenwood’s salutatorian and is now a student at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Campbell and his staff of top assistant coaches Jerrod Watson, Doug Raker and Mike Bennett are looking for England to take on Montgomery’s role.
“He’s going to have to fill those shoes and be a leader,” Campbell said. “We’re going to see how he runs around on the field on Friday nights.”
Campbell noted all three of his regular kickers “did a great job last season” and will return. They include sophomore Dayman Maynard kicking off, sophomore Spencer Schmidt doing the placekicking chores, and Wituszynski handling the punting duties.
Senior Seamus Sweeney will be the team’s long snapper for punter Wituszynski after serving as the short snapper in 2013.
After the Woodmen face Perry Meridian in their opener, they take on Indian Creek in Indianapolis in a game rescheduled for 8 p.m. Aug. 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Greenwood begins its Mid-State schedule on Sept. 5 when Martinsville visits.