Greenbrier Panthers: Greenbrier expects to be 'knocking on the door'

Tammy Keith Published August 25, 2013 at 5:00 a.m.
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Greenbrier head football coach Randy Tribble makes no bones about it: It’s going to “a little bit different year” for the Panthers.

The Panthers practically had a dream team last year and won the 5A West conference championship.

The team ended with a 10-1 record, losing to the Batesville Pioneers in the playoffs.

“It was a really good year,” Tribble said. “I’m really proud of the guys and the leadership of the seniors. It was just a really special year here at Greenbrier.”

Four seniors on offense last year were starters, for example, as well as two or three of the backup players.

That big group of seniors is in the history books now, and Tribble’s looking to other team members to step up.

“We’ve got less starters back this year — two on offense and four on defense,” he said.

Last season’s quarterback, Seth Peters, graduated, so Tribble is counting on junior Will Drewry.

“He’s getting better all the time; he was the backup to Seth last year,” Tribble said.

Other key starters on offense will include Gerrell Williamson, a slot receiver. “He caught 40 passes last year; he’s had a really good spring and offseason,” Tribble said.

Another returning starter is junior Sam Colbert, left tackle. Seniors Kevin Reynolds and Jake Buchanan “will be good receivers,” Tribble said. “They both played a lot last year on offense — they both started on defense last year.” He said Reynolds, a safety, is “one of our best players. He’s been starting ever since he was a sophomore.”

Senior Garrett Brewer will be full time on defense and will be a running back part of the time, he added.

A new face on the team will be receiver Dustin Timms, a senior, who attended school in Conway and played basketball in the Guy-Perkins district before coming to Greenbrier. “He is going to be a good threat,” Tribble said.

“Jordan Patton [senior] is another guy who will play a lot of receiver for us, wide receiver. He was not a starter but got to play,” Tribble said.

“On the offensive line, I would mention junior Jordan Pearson at guard. He is really going to be one of our leaders up there in the offensive line with Colbert,” the coach said.

On defense, Tribble will rely on some tried-and-true players. “Two corners, Garrett Brewer and Jake Buchanan, they’re really solid players defensively. They both started last year; they’ll be seniors. We expect them to play really well,” Tribble said.

In addition, he mentioned junior Tyler Bush, a linebacker who started the last half of last season.

“Those guys will kind of be the leaders,” Tribble said.

The coaching staff is a little different this year, too.

Former coach T.J. Slough took a job as assistant principal at Mayflower Middle School and Tribble said Russell Wortham, former Sheridan coach, was hired in his place.

“We also got to add a position on the high school staff this year, and I moved up coach Taylor Stone from our junior high staff,” Tribble said.

The roster is bigger this year — 68 — about eight-to-10 more than last year, Tribble said.

“We’re a little young, and it’s going to be a little tough, I think, to start off with,” he said.

Realism does not equal pessimism, though.

Tribble doesn’t think the conference title is out of reach.

“In our conference, Morrilton and Alma are both really good football teams, so if somebody had to pick, looking at how many we lost and how many they have coming back, a lot of people would pick them as the top teams in the conference, and they’d have us right there,” he said.

“We think we’ll be right there knocking on the door of winning the conference again. I think we’ll be really competitive, and our kids have high expectations. It’s going to be a little bit tougher. That’s just our expectation now — to be right there and knock on the door,” Tribble said.

“As long as we’ve got the right attitude and get better every day,” good things can happen, he said.

“We’re excited about getting to work.”

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