GLENCOE SENIORS. Pictured, from left: Will Harrison, Conner Gray, Jeremy Thompson. (Not pictured: Daniel Maye)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Despite a 1-9 start as Glencoe High head football coach, Brian Alred’s core philosophy remains intact.
“Physicality and discipline is what you build a winning program on,” said the 1998 GHS graduate and all-county linebacker for the Yellow Jackets. “Last year I felt like we did that at times, and at times we didn’t do that. But that’s what we focused on this summer, and hopefully we’re going to get there this year.”
The 2018 Yellow Jackets took their medicine early and often. Glencoe lost its first nine games by an average score of 42 to 4 before posting a 34-point victory over West End in the season finale.
“That was a very big win for us, to be able to go out on a winning note,” said Alred. “I think that showed a lot of resiliency by our kids, because there were so many opportunities last year when they could have quit, and they never did. It showed the type of character they had.”
The Yellow Jackets return four seniors, not the least of which is running back/free safety Daniel Maye.
“Daniel will be a huge part of what we do, both offensively and defensively,” said Alred. “He’ll play slot receiver for us and we’ll try to find multiple ways to get him the ball. Daniel’s had a very good spring and summer and stepped up as a leader for our younger kids.”
Returning at quarterback is junior Sam Hines, who started for most of last season.
“Sam still has to work on making his reads a little quicker, but overall, we’re pleased with his progress,” said Alred. “He’s worked extremely hard in the offseason and had some quarterback lessons, so we’re very excited to see where he can go.”
Glencoe will rotate several receivers alongside Maye, including sophomores Hayden Smith, Carson Naylor and Kade Kueney and junior Tristan Cox.
Juniors Eli Huff and freshman Gerrick Gaskin are expected to take the majority of snaps at running back.
The offensive line will be inexperienced with the exception of seniors Justin Harrison and Connor Gray.
That’s a young position for us, but it’s a position that we feel is key for us to be successful, especially in the region that we play in,” said Alred.
Senior Jeremy Thompson returns to the defensive line, along with sophomores Kade Crowder and Levi Long.
“Jeremy’s got a motor that doesn’t quit,” said Al-red. “He’ll be a big factor for us.”
Junior Bryant Speer and sophomore Caleb Sims will start at linebacker.
“Bryant is a kid that seeks contact,” said Alred. “Caleb’s not the biggest guy but he finds a way to make plays.”
Huff, Naylor, Kueney and junior Justin Dave will vie for playing time in the secondary alongside Maye.
“Being the free safety, Daniel will be the quarterback of the defense, so we’ll expect him to get us lined up in the right coverage and make all of our checks,” said Alred.
With 19 freshmen on the roster, Alred expects many of his youngsters to contribute.
“That’s our biggest class, and a lot of those guys will play and a couple of them will have to start. It will be a big learning curve from junior high to varsity, but we feel confident that group will do a good job and create some depth for us.”
Glencoe’s Class 3A Region 6 competition includes Piedmont, Saks, Randolph County, Weaver, Walter Wellborn, Pleasant Valley and B.B. Comer. Piedmont, Saks and Randolph County all made it to the state quarterfinals.
“In 3A, I do believe that this is the toughest region in the state, no doubt,” said Al-red. “You don’t get a break in any week. I think that Pleasant Valley and Walter Wellborn will surprise a lot of people this year. Top to bottom, this region is very competitive.”