2018 was a forgettable year for the Greenbrier football team.
The Bobcats managed wins over West Creek and White House Heritage, but that was it. Greenbrier lost its final five games to finish 2-8. They lacked physicality on both sides of the ball.
Those problems lingered into spring practice, when the Bobcats lost to Macon County in a lopsided scrimmage. But coach John Elmore said his team has started to turn the corner this summer.
“We’ve had good summer workouts,” Elmore said. “The physicality is coming along. We’ve still got a little way to go.”
If Greenbrier does turn things around, senior quarterback Tristan Leopold and the veteran offensive line in front of him must play an important role. Elmore said Leopold has bulked up in the weight room after throwing for 376 yards and six touchdowns as a junior. He is one of only two returning starting quarterbacks in Robertson County.
“That’s huge,” Elmore said. “He saw a lot of things last year. (His experience) is really going to benefit him and the team this year.”
1,000-yard rushers Brandon Chambers and Micah Escue have both graduated. That means the Bobcats will rely on senior Reagan Conquest, who rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns in 2018, and junior Izik Rector to carry the load. Zamyrion Atkins and Peyton Maness could also see time at tailback.
Elmore said the by-committee approach in the backfield will help each player stay fresh for defense.
“It’s hard to get 20-25 carries a game and then go play linebacker or corner,” Elmore said. “But with our offensive line being a year older…they grew up a lot last year and I’m hoping that will pay dividends this fall.”
Leopold’s top receiving targets are seniors Ryan Lanius and Gavin Ledbetter. Elmore said he expects Atkins and Silas Page to also see time at receiver. Ryan Poole and Wesley Burns will split time at tight end.
Three offensive linemen are back to protect Leopold. That group includes guards Andy Li and Ben Semore and tackle Noah Batey. Kenny Li will replace Burns at center, while Paxton Maness will play tackle.
Each of the offensive linemen will also rotate on the defensive line. Burns and Poole will join them as defensive ends.
Rector and Peyton Maness will be the main linebackers, along with Braydon Morgan and Alex Payne. Meanwhile, Conquest, Leopold, Lanius, Atkins, Ledbetter, Page and Harley Fort could each see time in the secondary.
Elmore said he has yet to decide on a kicker and a punter, but Conquest and Atkins are slated to return kicks and punts.
Greenbrier’s first chance to snap its losing streak will come Aug. 23 at West Creek, who the Bobcats defeated 49-33 in Week 2 last season.
Head coach: John Elmore
Record: 14-17, 4th season
Assistants: Darrel Sweeney, Luke White, Matt Gallowitz, Doug Hintemeyer, Glen Campbell, Matt Lehnertz, Bailey Young, Tyler Campbell, Troy Bigsbee
Tristan Leopold (QB/FS)
Ryan Lanius (WR/FS)
Reagan Conquest (RB/CB)
Ben Semore (OG, DT)
Noah Batey (OT, DT)
Andy Li (OG/DL)