Offensive line anchors Falcons football
New skill position players are Key to Brown Deer's fate
Fresh start, same expectations.
That's the attitude that veteran Brown Deer football coach Rob Green is taking this fall after large graduation losses left him looking around for familiar faces. One thing is for certain, he's been grateful to the weather.
"It's really been above average for us (cooler and drier)," he said, "and that's helped, because the kids are enthusiastic and they are moving along. They're tired of hitting each other and are looking for somebody else to hit (laughs)."
The Falcons, coming off a 5-4 season and a share of the Woodland East Division title, open up at 7 p.m. Friday at Milwaukee Lutheran.
Another high point for the Falcons are the numbers. Despite a big graduation class last season, the overall count is up a few kids from last season to 74 despite a smaller than usual freshmen group.
"But we should pick up six to eight more (freshmen) once school starts," he said. "We've had low numbers in certain groups in the past. This current senior group started out as only 13 and now they're finishing up at around 22.
"It's just that certain kids have different dreams. I'm trying to find the ones who think along the lines 'I have only one shot to play (high school football) and I'm going to take it.'"
The heart of that kind of thinking this season for the Falcons can be found along with offensive line where letter-winners junior Greg Okray, sophomore Brendon Semo, and seniors Austin Schwark and Randy Gregory together form the team's greatest strength.
But then Green looks at the challenge his team faces.
"We're going to have to replace every skill position player known to mankind," he laughed. "So if I have to be in that position, it's good to have a veteran line in front of them."
Green said there is a lot of competition at all the skill positions in the Falcons spread formation set, with at least four athletes still in the mix at quarterback. He said the receiving corps, which was decimated with the graduations of All-Suburban selection Trayvon Palmer and Pietro D'Amato, still has a chance to have some very good depth.
On defense, Green is really holding his breath, as he has only one returning starter in junior linebacker Kyler Cyiark. The Falcons will have to replace their entire D-line and secondary.
"Fortunately, we did rotate a lot of kids in and out last season," he said. Promising line players include juniors Jamaar Manning and Brandon Mora and seniors Andrew Lemense and Malik Brown. Gregory will also play some linebacker and junior Gerry Gilles should fill a spot in the secondary.
"This'll still be fun," Green said. "We have a good nucleus of kids. They have an attitude that no one expects anything out of them, so they're going to come out there ready to play. They'll help us continue our quest of competing for the (Woodland) title."
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