GREENVILLE — A lot has changed for the Greenville Yellow Jackets football program since the end of last season.
Yes, the Yellow Jackets return many of the same players from a year ago. Yes, many familiar junior varsity players have made the transition to the varsity level. Yes, Dave Moore returns for his 10th season as head coach. And yes, the Yellow Jackets begin the high school football season with longtime rival Belding.
Maybe a lot hasn’t changed, but two very important and critical things did change.
No longer do the Yellow Jackets (4-5 in 2011) play in the O-K White and no longer do the Yellow Jackets play their home games at Black Field.
The Yellow Jackets are inaugural members of the O-K Bronze and with that realignment welcome seven new opponents to their schedule. The only two teams the Yellow Jackets will face from a year ago are Belding and Northview, but both have new head coaches patrolling the sidelines.
“We are essentially playing nine new teams,” Moore said. “The two teams we repeat with (Belding and Northview) both have new coaches. So we have seven new teams and two old teams with new coaches.”
New conference opponents include Cedar Springs (5-4 in 2011), GR West Catholic (10-3), Forest Hills Northern (5-4) and Forest Hills Eastern (3-6).
New nonconference opponents include Kenowa Hills (6-4), Thornapple Kellogg (5-4) and Byron Center (4-5).
The Yellow Jackets did face Kenowa Hills every year from 2003 to 2010 and went 6-2 against the Knights in that time frame. They also faced Cedar Springs and FH Northern twice apiece as members of the O-K White.
Moore said it will be different and a little more difficult facing so many news teams this year.
“It’s a little exciting and nervous at the same time. We don’t know what we are going to get every week,” Moore said. “The familiarity of going to schools that we have for nine years now are gone. It’s different. Their advantage is they know what we are going to do or can expect to see from us.”
The other change and largest one is switching from Black Field to the new on campus Legacy Field. Legacy Field, which is in the final stages of completion, will be one of, if not the best high school football stadiums in the state.
On Monday, the Yellow Jackets opened two-a-day practices on the new field, which features an artificial field turf.
“The turf nowadays is so much like grass. There is not a lot of difference,” Moore said. “The thing about the turf is there are no holes. There are no bald spots, no mud when it rains, it is always perfect. That is what’s nice.”
Greenville senior Alex Dillon enjoyed practicing on the new surface.
“Its great. It’s obviously a lot hotter down there, but its good,” he said. “You can’t complain with the best in the state.”
The Yellow Jackets will host four games this season at Legacy Field beginning with the Redskins on Aug. 24.
2012 GHS schedule
8/24 vs. Belding
8/30 at Kenowa Hills
9/7 vs. Thornapple Kellogg
9/14 at Byron Center
9/21 at Cedar Springs
9/28 vs. Northview
10/5 at West Catholic
10/12 vs. FH Northern
10/19 at FH Eastern
Note: All games at 7 p.m.