Springwood settles into offensive adjustments ahead of first week

Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2019

LANETT — The word has been mostly positive coming out of the Springwood School football offseason this year.

“We’ve had a pretty good three weeks,” Springwood head football coach John Gartman said. “We’ve had a lot of retention from the spring, we’re a lot further along at this point then we were last year as far as understanding what we’re doing, so I feel like we’ll play better in our first game this year than last year.”

Springwood junior lineman Andre Mills echoed the team’s focus as one of the reasons of the Wildcats’ improvement this season.

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“I think we’ve come together as a team a lot,” Mills said. “This team is a family to us, we care for each other in everything.”

The team’s defense has impressed Mills the most this offseason. Tuesday’s practice featured senior Coleman Hull taking an offensive turnover to the end zone and senior Chalyb Lenker reeling in an acrobatic interception. 

“Offensively, we have to work a little more on, but we have defense in the bag right now,” Mills said. “[We’re] getting after the ball. Our defense has improved a lot.”

Gartman said that he’s thrown in some new features to his offense now that the team has been with him for a full season. 

“It’s taken a little while to work out some of the kinks, but once we do, I feel like we’ll be pretty tough to stop,” Gartman said.

This season, Springwood returns with the backfield primarily featuring junior full back O.J. Tolbert and senior quarterback Jordan Plank. Junior Kannon Key and sophomore Ethan Plank will also players to look out for in the backfield. Mills and junior Trevo Williams are leading returners on the line while seniors Lenker, Coleman Hull and Louis Morrison are projected to be the team’s top receiving options. 

The Wildcats will take the hour-long trip down from Lanett to Montgomery on Friday to face Success Unlimited. Last season, Springwood hosted Success Unlimited in what was the Mustangs’ first football game ever. The Wildcats won 23-12 that night, which marked Gartman’s first win at Springwood. 

“I expect them to be very athletic,” Gartman said of Success Unlimited. “You have to prevent the big play when we’re on defense. Offensively, I just feel like we need to execute. As long as we’re executing, we’re doing what we’re supposed to, everyone’s blocking the right guy, hitting the right hole, I think we’ll be okay.”