GRANVILLE – As Granville’s football team was going through conditioning, it was only fitting that the turf was being applied to the new Walter J. Hodges Stadium.
Under new head coach Wes Schroeder, the Blue Aces plan on showcasing their speed and athleticism in a no huddle offense that should be a good fit on the faster surface.
“We’re built to go no huddle, built to go fast,” said quarterback Carsyn Crouch, part of a sizeable, talented junior class, many of who played as sophomores. “We’re not inexperienced, and we want to step up and help our seniors. Even with the time off (due to COVID-19), we’re ahead of the game, not behind. The playoff experience has carried over.”
Schroeder may be only 34, but he’s no stranger to success, or the postseason. Last season, he led Division VI Allen East to a 9-2 record, its first league title since 1995 and first playoff berth since 2006. Prior to that, he was wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator on a pair of Olentangy Liberty teams that made the Division I state semifinals in 2016 and 2017.
Before going to team activities, the Blue Aces alternated nine players in the weight room, nine players in the wrestling room for mobility and flexibility, and the rest on the field split up into groups for social distancing. They have good numbers out with over 60 players, including freshmen.
“We practice with tempo, much like we want to be on offense,” Schroeder said. “Really, our offense is going to be similar to last year, but no huddle. More like Liberty.”
“He’s a great guy, and he’s coming in here and really wanting to win,” said senior wideout/defensive back Keshawn Bonner. “It was basically two months off, with no one doing anything. It was a little slow at the start, but slowly, we’re getting back into it. We take every day as important. We feel pretty good and we’re really going to be conditioned.”
Schroeder is the third coach for Granville’s seniors in four seasons, but players actually see that as an advantage, not a deterrent. “It’s good to have knowledge from different coaches, and we’ve been blessed with some really good coaches,” senior defensive lineman Braden Atchison said about J.R. Wait, Justin Buttermore and now Schroeder. “We’re not too far behind. The first two weeks, it wasn’t about football. We were getting in shape. Now, we’re running some plays and getting football work in.”
Unlike at Allen East, where he was trying to rebuild the program, Schroeder is excited about the foundation already established at Granville. Buttermore led the Blue Aces to back-to-back 10-2 seasons and the school’s first two playoff victories.
“Having a solid culture in place is really beneficial,” Schroeder said. “They already have what it takes to win games, and you try to build upon what was already established. Add your own stuff, and enhance.”
“He has a great past in coaching, and he’s someone who knows how to win big games,” Bonner said.