New coach plenty familiar with West Greene program
Technically, Paul Kreuzer is the new football coach at West Greene. But for he and his players, it's more a case of history repeating itself.
Kreuzer coached the middle school team for the past five seasons and made connections with the majority of his current players. Instead of an offseason overhaul, the Pioneers' players and coaches have settled in nicely.
“It hasn't been much of a change at all,” Kreuzer said.
Adding to that consistency is the return of several key players, notably in the trenches. The Pioneers have three Tri-County South all-conference players returning to the offensive line, including juniors Beau and Bray Jackson and senior Trevin Bedilion. Rounding out the line are returning starter Will Van Norman and Harry Ingram. The line is deep, as well. Available to fill in are freshman Craig Weaver (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) and Michael Little (6-3, 225).
“The other kids understand we go nowhere without this line,” Kreuzer said.
The linemen also are aware and have been prepping for the season accordingly. Several linemen have attended high-intensity training camps to maximize their speed and agility. Kreuzer noted that their time traveling and working out together has strengthened an already close bond.
“I'm very pleased with the way the line has progressed over the summer,” he said.
When the line is opening holes, senior Dalton Wildman, who also was named all-conference last season, will be running through them. Wildman split time at quarterback and running back last year but primarily will be used at running back. The Pioneers lost leading receiver Matt Johnston to graduation and will need some playmakers to step up.
One of the few changes this season will be a pro-style offense to replace the spread.
West Greene went 0-9 in 2011. After a 1-4 start last season, the Pioneers rattled off three wins in their final four games. The offense found its groove during those three wins when it racked up an average of 47 points, including a season-high 70 against Geibel. It was either feast or famine for the Pioneers' offense last year: In their five losses, they averaged just 11.8 points.
Kreuzer said he is expecting to coach the team that showed up for the second half of last season. The Pioneers have a simple goal for this season, one that Kreuzer noted without hesitation.
“We expect to make the playoffs,” he said.