Antwan Greenwood is set to lead Valley’s defense

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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The Valley Rams are going into football season with a few vacancies in the leadership department. With Cam Dooley, Jay Harper and several other dominant seniors gone from the program, Valley needs someone to step up. Antwan Greenwood looks to fill the leadership role this season as a dominant force for the Rams on the defensive line. 

Greenwood has been a part of Valley’s defensive line since he was a freshman. He has played on both sides of the ball and is now expected to be the best player on Valley’s defensive line next season. 

Along the way, Greenwood has seen several dominant players come and go, but he has played alongside this current group of players for most of his time in high school. He knows that he will be expected to play a larger role this season and is facing the task head-on. 

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“I’ve been preparing during the offseason and since my freshman year I’ve been playing with this team,” Greenwood said. 

For most of his high school career, Greenwood has started on the defensive line and on the offensive line. This year will be different as his offensive role is set to shrink during his senior season. 

Valley coach Adam Hunter has decided to take some of Greenwood’s responsibilities away on offense. He is no longer set to start on the offensive line, but it’s not because he does not have the ability. In fact, Greenwood is one of Valley’s best linemen. Hunter wants him to focus on defense because Valley needs his impact on that side to grow exponentially this season. 

“It helps me a lot,” Greenwood said. “It keeps my energy to go full speed on defense.” 

Greenwood’s junior season with the Rams was stellar. He finished the season with 57 total tackles, eight tackles for loss and five sacks. 

Valley also had one of its best seasons in recent memory last year. The Rams finished with a 7-4 record and made the playoffs for the first time since 2019. 

Most athletes would be fine with resting on their laurels and simply continuing the success they had in the previous season. Greenwood is not wired that way. He wants to have an even better season as a senior and lead the Rams to new heights in the postseason. 

“I’m trying to get more sacks and tackles,” Greenwood said. “The goal for the team is to win the area championship and try to make it further. Try to better myself and try to put more on the field.” 

Greenwood will be the team’s leader this season, but he still has to work on the vocal side of his leadership. He leads by example currently, but he is working to become more of a vocal leader as well. 

The coaching staff at Valley has encouraged Greenwood to fully step into the role of being the defensive leader. He currently leads by showing up every day and doing what’s right, but the team also needs to hear his leadership. 

“They’ve been telling me in the offseason that I’ve got to work harder to improve myself and be a great leader,” Greenwood said. 

There are several other leaders on Valley’s defense. Galvin Goss and Zan Woody will serve as leaders in Valley’s secondary. There are also other guys that Greenwood can lean on to help him lead next season. 

Being a linemen enters you into a brotherhood, and Greenwood has built close bonds with Jaylen Robertson and Antwan Hatchett on Valley’s defensive line. The trio has played alongside each other since they were freshmen. 

Greenwood is also still leaning on the things he’s learned from the great leaders on the defensive line before him. Xavier Smith and Robert White led Valley’s defense last season and the pair helped Greenwood along the way. 

“We’ve been leading the defense since Robert White and Xavier Smith were gone,” Greenwood said. “We learned to do the right things when coach was telling us something.”

This offseason has been busy for Greenwood. While he is focused on putting his best foot forward for Valley this season, Greenwood also has goals for after his senior season. 

Greenwood has goals of playing collegiate football. He has been visiting schools and going to camps all summer. He has also had a lot of guidance from Valley’s coaching staff during the recruitment process, and he is learning from each college coach he visits. 

“When coach Harper was here, he was helping. Now, it’s coach Hunter just texting and sending out my film and stuff,” Greenwood said. 

“I’m learning from the coaches. You’ve got to get stronger and [better] mentally,” Greenwood said. 

After losing several key pieces from last season, some may be underrating Valley’s defense this season. Greenwood believes that the defense will be just as strong, with the defensive line and secondary once again being one of the strongest points of the team. 

“I believe it’s still the same, just three people gone from the defense,” Greenwood said.