GREENE COUNTY: Tigers glad to drop to 3A
Wed. August 22, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. | By Becky Hopf
Greene County head coach Bruce Jackson talks to players during practice at Greene County High School, Aug. 15, 2012. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter )
EUTAW | Count Bruce Jackson among the coaches around the state who was pleased with the AHSAA's realignment last spring.
His Greene County Tigers moved a step down from Class 4A to Class 3A, a size the fifth-year head coach believes is far more fitting for his squad's numbers.
"It helped us out a lot," said Jackson, whose team returns only two starters from last year's 7-4 squad that advanced to the first round of the 4A playoffs.
"If we'd stayed in 4A, we'd have really been hurting. It helped us as far as having all our games being within an hour's drive, too. We can leave a little later. We won't have to rush as much, and it won't be as late a drive coming back."
The two returning starters are two of the five total lettermen Greene County returns. Junior offensive guard Zaddrick Smith and sophomore center Deondric Montgomery are the lone returning starters.
Sophomore running back John Paige, sophomore rover Devlon Woods and senior linebacker Jaderrel Pelt are the other returning lettermen.
"It's a big-time rebuilding year," Jackson said.
"Everybody is real young. Everybody is real inexperienced. Everybody has to got to learn. Everybody has to learn what it takes to work hard and stay dedicated to succeed.
"It's a learning year. We're going to take some bumps and bruises this year."
The situation, Jackson observed, is bringing out the best in his players. With virtually every position up for grabs, players are working hard to compete for spots.
Among those who have impressed are senior receiver Tyquan Washington and junior halfback/safety Kaylen Gardner. Quarterback candidates to run the spread offense are Adrian Tyree, Denzel Davis and Nicolas Kimbrough.
Greene County uses a 3-4 defense, where standouts so far include freshman linebacker John Gandy.
"I think he's going to be our team leader," Jackson said.
"I know it may sound funny, because he is a freshman, but I can tell already that he's going to be a leader, along with Gardner, Tyree and Woods."
Jackson says this season his Tigers may experience growing pains as they learn their way, but next season will be a different story.
"I know we're going to be ready next year," he said. "This year we might be fine. It'll depend on how our guys catch on, how they adjust."
School: Greene County High School
Classification: AHSAA Class 3A, Region 3
2011 record: 7-4
2011 playoffs: 0-1
Head coach: Bruce Jackson (fifth year at Greene County)
Assistant coaches: Jason Spinks, defensive coordinator; Gentrell Eatmon, offensive coordinator; Steve Jackson, co-offensive coordinator; Robert Harris, co-defensive coordinator; Robert Kimbrough, defensive assistant; Michael Barton, offensive assistant; Brandon Davis, offensive/defensive lines
Returning starters: 2
Keep an eye on: OG Zaddrick Smith (5-7, 160, Jr.), C Deondric Montgomery (6-3, 235, So.), WR Tyquan Washington (5-10, 150, Sr.)
Key games: Sept. 14 Holt, Sept. 28 at Sumter Central, Oct. 26 Greensboro
Aug. 31 at Akron
Sept. 7 at American Christian Acad.*
Sept. 14 Holt*
Sept. 21 at Gordo*
Sept. 28 at Sumter Central
Oct. 5 Fayette County*
Oct. 12 Sipsey Valley*
Oct. 19 at Northside*
Oct. 26 Greensboro*
Nov. 2 Aliceville
*Denotes region game