By Chris Parker
Greenfield football was led by a young group last year with all of the Wildcats’ all-district and all-region selections being non-seniors.
That young group learned valuable lessons that will pay off this season.
“The boys learned that it takes hard work and serious dedication to be good, and they know they needed to improve going into this season. The leadership has grown within the team this summer and that is something we did not have last year,” Greenfield head coach Jordan Bryant said. “The biggest improvement this year will be in our team chemistry. The team has been working very well together compared to last year where we had some ripples in the team chemistry. I think this group will be able to push each other to be better as a team.”
Greenfield returns six starters on each side of the ball this year.
Austin Pickett will enter his second year as the starting quarterback. As a freshman, Pickett threw for 585 yards while rushing for 300 yards on 102 carries.
Junior Alex Pickett will be in the backfield at running back. He earned honorable mention all-region and all-district honors after rushing for 448 yards on 92 carries.
The wide receiving corps will feature Nikolas Gossett (sophomore), Camryn Shouse (sophomore), Jake Julian (junior) and Andrew Mays (freshman). Shouse led that group with 19 catches for 245 yards. Gossett was just behind him with 12 catches for 208 yards. Gossett earned all-region honors as a punter and all-district honors as a receiver.
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The offensive line will feature: Rexton DeJager (senior), Xander Vaughn (junior), Aiden Bowles (senior), Hunter Minks (sophomore) and River Stephens (freshman). Vaughn was named second-team all-region on the offensive line while DeJager was named honorable mention.
“Our guards and running backs (will be a strength). We should have our run offense scheme figured out going into the second year with this offense,” Bryant said. “We will need to cut down on turnovers this year and know when to take what the defense is giving us.”
Defensively, many of the same players on offense will key the defense.
Up front, DeJager, Vaughn, Bowles, Minks and Stephens will be on the defensive line. DeJager earned all-district honors on the defensive line.
The linebacking corps will feature Alex Pickett, Shouse and Gossett. Shouse was an all-district selection at linebacker in 2021.
Alex Pickett will lead the defense.
“Alex Pickett will be our leader on defense,” Bryant said. “He is a smart player, will call the plays on defense, and make sure we are lined up correctly.”
The defense will be rounded out by Austin Pickett, Julian, Mays and Matt Reid will be in the secondary.
“Our strengths will be setting the pace up front and forcing everything inside,” Bryant said. “Our defensive ends will be a big key to our defense this year and we should have enough depth at the position to have success.”
The more experienced Greenfield Wildcats are ready to improve on last season’s 1-7 record.
“I expect us to take a big step forward this year and build this program up by getting some key wins this year,” Bryant said. “This team has not stopped talking about football since the season ended in 2021. They want to win now and have been working hard towards it. The vibe has shifted back to football within the school with the boys and it is very exciting to be a part of it.”
Greenfield will travel to Lockwood for a jamboree on Aug. 19 with the host Tigers, Jasper and Liberal. The Wildcats open the regular season on Aug. 26 at Appleton City.