Greenville looks toward start of football season

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 7:49 pm on Thursday, August 14, 2014

Greenville senior Eric Plate takes a pitch and runs by a defender during Wednesday’s practice at Legacy Field. Fall football practice began on Monday. The season starts on Aug. 28 at home against Belding. – Bruce Bentley

GREENVILLE — The Michigan high school football season begins just two weeks from today.

On Aug. 28, the Greenville Yellow Jackets will host longtime rival Belding at Legacy Field. The Redskins snapped a five-game losing streak against the Yellow Jackets with a 47-14 victory a year ago to open the season.

Greenville has been working hard all summer long and the past three days (the start of fall practice). The effort is all for an improved season from a year ago (2-7) and a better start against the rival Redskins.

“We’ve been focusing on a lot of the same things we always do. Fundamentals,” Greenville coach Dave Moore said. “We have put in everything the first three days. Everything in the kicking game, offense and defense. We refine from there.”

On Wednesday, as the Yellow Jackets finished practice, the team displayed plenty of energy and excitement. Even after beginning the day at 7:30 a.m. and concluding at 2:30 p.m.

“The enthusiasm was great. It’s been this way for three days and has been awesome,” Moore said. “I feel like our guys are really responding well.”

Greenville’s Conner Wyckoff slips by a defender during practice on Wednesday. – Bruce Bentley

Moore said his team’s improvement has been constant since the beginning of summer.

“We are getting there. I feel like our improvement has been awesome,” Moore said. “I really feel like they got it. Like they are catching on. I feel very good about how we have progressed.”

Greenville senior Steve Eipper said the start of fall practice has been good for the Yellow Jackets.

“We’ve had a real solid couple of days. It’s been a lot better than last year,” Eipper said. “We have a lot more senior leadership. Just the energy and the rapport of the team seems a lot better this year.”

It’s been four years since the Yellow Jackets last made the playoffs (9-2 in 2010). For Moore, this season still has a one game at a time mentality, even though the playoffs are the ultimate goal for the Yellow Jackets.

“The thing we have talked about all year is one game at a time,” Moore said. “We can’t look for game 10. We have to look for game one. That has to be our focus. When game one is over, we will look to game two. Our schedule is way too difficult not to do it this way.”

So far, Moore said his team looks fast, but still has to work on the mental part of the game.

“We look fast off the ball, which is fun. That has been the good part,” Moore said. “The mental part of the game is where we have to improve. But that is an always thing. We work on that everyday so that we understand the schemes, on defense understanding what the opponent is trying to do, that is a work in progress all year.”

The Yellow Jackets will host a scrimmage on Aug. 21 at home against East Lansing, Jenison and Fremont. The freshman teams will play at 10 a.m., junior varsity at 1 p.m. and varsity at 4 p.m.

Greenville remains in the O-K Bronze with holdovers Northview, Forest Hills Northern, Forest Hills Eastern and Cedar Springs. Grand Rapids West Catholic returned to the O-K Blue, while Wyoming joins the O-K Bronze this season.

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