GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets have gone two seasons without a football playoff appearance.
As the Yellow Jackets begin their quest to snap that streak, they do so with a team that is displaying the kind of leadership and chemistry that leads to successful seasons.
Greenville coach Dave Moore said the coaching staff has noticed the leadership this summer and through the first three days of practice.
“We’ve commented a lot to our team about that,” he said. “We feel like our leadership has been really good this year. That is important when it comes from them and not from us. If leadership comes internally, that is when you have your best teams.”
Moore — in his 11th season as coach of Greenville — said the first three days of camp have been great.
“We are excited. I think things are going really well,” Moore said. “The kids effort has been awesome. The attitude has been excellent. We can’t ask for more than that.”
On Wednesday, the Yellow Jackets breezed through a smooth flowing practice, which this week runs from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We feel like we are way ahead in everything we are doing,” Moore said. “That part has been great. Our enthusiasm has been great and that makes the day go by so fast and it’s so much more fun to coach when it’s like that.”
Beginning today, football teams are allowed to wear pads and begin hitting in practice. As for the Yellow Jackets, hitting isn’t something they do a whole lot of in practice.
“They get anxious (to be in pads), they like the pads, but we don’t really do any live hitting in practice,” Moore said. “To us, it’s just another practice day.”
Greenville focuses on technique, but avoids contact to the ground.
“We are spending our time teaching them technique, how to tackle and how to block,” Moore said. “We are still doing that and we are still doing it full speed, we just don’t go all the way to the ground. That is the part where you end up with a lot of injuries.”
The main reason Greenville backs off on constant hitting is the recent focus on concussion awareness.
“We are really cognizant about the concussion issue,” Moore said. “We want to stay away from the repetitive contact that is a big factor in concussions. We do everything we possibly can to keep our kids healthy.”
The Yellow Jackets open the season on Aug. 29 on the road against rival Belding. The Redskins are on the mind of Greenville, but not the sole focus at this point of the preseason.
“We have not focused on Belding yet, but it is always in the back of our mind,” Moore said. “That is game one and a huge rival, but at this point we are trying to get the schemes in. We will get more specific the week of the game.”
Greenville has gone 4-5 the past two seasons. Last year, the Yellow Jackets lost four games by two touchdowns or less.
In 10 years under Moore, the Yellow Jackets have reached the postseason four times. Moore has a career record of 54-43 at Greenville.
“That is our goal. That is our goal every year,” Moore said. “It’s been a couple of years. I think if we stay healthy we have a great shot to make the playoffs.”