EASLEY—A new look Green Wave squad is aiming for even more success in 2013.
The Easley High football team is coming off a 9-3 season in which it lost its head coach and several contributing seniors.
Current Easley Coach Grayson Howell said, however, the team still has a championship in mind.
“We’ve got a lot of kids that have some ability and I’m excited to watch them develop and grow,” Howell said. “We’re ready to get to work.”
Easley kicked off its 2013 campaign with a spring game Saturday evening. Howell said it was a way to reward his team for some tough workouts and preparation.
“This was a way to reward our guys and out staff for putting in the hard work,” Howell said. “This wasn’t about learning anything, it was about rewarding them and letting our fan base come out and have a chance to get excited about the 2013 Green Wave.”
Howell said he hopes the spring game will serve as a motivator for summer workouts.
“It’s tough to get motivated sometimes during the spring because there’s no Friday night game to look forward to,” Howell said. “Our guys have been embracing the grind and we’ve really been putting in the work.”
Easley was embarrassed by Northwestern in the first round of the playoffs last season, but Howell said he thinks his team has the right mentality this year.
“We’re looking to win a championship,” Howell said. “The first thing we need to focus on is winning a region championship, because everything else you want to do comes from the seeding when you do well in your region. If you can win a region championship, you’ve guaranteed yourself a first round game at home, maybe even two.”
That pursuit of a championship will include a strong running game, according to the coach.
“I’m a run first guy, so we’ll look to establish the run every Friday night,” Howell said. “We’ve really worked hard on that. During the last two or three practices we’ve really begun to see some progress. We’ve got a really good group of running backs and we’re going to have a young quarterback. We’re going to be inexperienced there, and the best thing for an inexperienced quarterback is a great running game.”
Howell said Green Wave fans should keep an eye out for several key guys this season.
“We’ve got some great guys. Everybody knows about CJ (Fuller) because of the year he had last year, but we’ve also got some guys who have been waiting their turn and are ready to step up,” Howell said. “Deequon Arnold is a guy we’re going to try to get the ball to in the passing game. He’s exciting when he’s got it in his hands, as well as Dee Gamble. We’re hoping to use those guys in maybe a different way they’ve been used in the past.”
“Defensively, Kelsia Sumrell has looked really good at corner. The defensive line has also looked really good,” Howell continued. “Hakeim Warren is going to be a playmaker for us on the defensive side of the ball. We’re just solid all around.”
Easley will kick off the season on August 23 at home against Pickens.