By Chris Parker
Greenfield football was led by a young group last year, with all of the Wildcats’ all-district and all-region selections being non-seniors.
This young group learned valuable lessons that will pay off this season.
“The boys have learned that it takes hard work and serious dedication to be good and they know they have to improve this season. The leadership has grown within the team this summer and we didn’t have that last year,” Greenfield head coach Jordan Bryant said. “The biggest improvement this year will be in our team chemistry. The team worked really well together compared to last year when we had some waves in team chemistry. I think this group will be able to push each other to be better as a team.”
Greenfield returns six starters on each side of the ball this year.
Austin Pickett will enter his second year as the starting quarterback. As a freshman, Pickett threw for 585 yards while rushing for 300 yards on 102 carries.
Junior Alex Pickett will be at running back. He earned honorable mention all-region and all-district after rushing for 448 yards on 92 carries.
The wide receiver corps will include Nikolas Gossett (sophomore), Camryn Shouse (sophomore), Jake Julian (junior) and Andrew Mays (freshman). Shouse led that group with 19 catches for 245 yards. Gossett was right behind him with 12 catches for 208 yards. Gossett earned all-region honors as a punter and all-district honors as a receiver.
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The offensive line will feature: Rexton DeJager (senior), Xander Vaughn (junior), Aiden Bowles (senior), Hunter Minks (sophomore) and River Stephens (freshman). Vaughn was named second-team all-region on the offensive line, while DeJager was named honorable mention.
“Our guards and running back (will be a strength). We should sort out our run offense scheme by year two with this offense,” Bryant said. “We’re going to have to cut down on turnovers this year and know when to take what the defense gives us.”
Defensively, many of the same offensive players will key the defense.
Up front, DeJager, Vaughn, Bowles, Minks and Stephens will be on the defensive line. DeJager earned all-district honors on the defensive line.
The linebacking corps will feature Alex Pickett, Shouse and Gossett. Shouse was an all-district selection at linebacker in 2021.
Alex Pickett will lead the defense.
“Alex Pickett will be our leader on defense,” Bryant said. “He’s a smart player, he’ll call the plays on defense and make sure we’re lined up right.”
The defense will be filled out by Austin Pickett, Julian, Mays and Matt Reid will be in the secondary.
“Our strengths will be setting the tempo up front and forcing everything inside,” Bryant said. “Our defensive ends will be a big key to our defense this year and we should have enough depth at the position to be successful.”
The more experienced Greenfield Wildcats are poised to improve on last season’s 1-7 record.
“I expect us to take a big step forward this year and build this program by getting some key wins this year,” Bryant said. “This team hasn’t stopped talking about football since the season ended in 2021. They want to win now and they’ve worked hard for it. The vibe is back in school football with the boys and it’s really exciting to be a part of it.”
Greenfield will travel to Lockwood for a jamboree on Aug. 19 with the host Tigers, Jasper and Liberal. The Wildcats open the regular season Aug. 26 at Appleton City.