Speed characterizes Greer's football team

Seneca visits Yellow Jackets tonight at Dooley Field

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, August 24, 2012

It’s all about speed for the Greer Yellow Jackets this season.

Greer Head Coach Will Young salivates thinking of turning loose Quez Nesbitt, D’Anta Fleming, Emmanuel Kelly and Josh Gentry on offense. Or having Malek Johnson and Fleming on punt and kickoff returns.

“The theme of our team will be team speed,” Young said. “We believe our speed will match up better than most teams we play.”

Greer opens its 2012 season playing the Seneca Bobcats tonight at Dooley Field with kickoff scheduled at 7:30.

The Yellow Jackets have a bitter taste left over from last year when Fairfield Central beat Greer at Dooley Field in the first game of the 3A state playoffs. “I wasn’t expecting the season to end the way it did so soon,” John Hicks, senior linebacker, said. “I think we’re going to have a good year and will go deep in the playoffs. We have worked hard this summer.”

Young said expectations for Greer to reach the playoffs is as routine as it is for the Yellow Jackets to be playing in the Upper State playoffs and for the state championship each year. “We are expected to win – not win a little bit but we’re expected to win a lot,” Young said.

Young has been working on finding and positioning players to return to the former days when the Yellow Jackets would overwhelm teams with their speed and superior running attack.  This year Gentry’s athleticism – he plays football and basketball – will add another quality to the offense with his ability to get outside the pocket to scramble to buy time for his receivers or to take off running for big chunks of yardage.

Gentry won the quarterback job, Young said, by virtue of his game management, leadership skills and ability to make good things happen. Young had all but anointed Kelly the starter by playing him in all 7-on-7 matchups last summer. Kelly’s six touchdowns in the spring game solidified his hold on the quarterback.

Young said Gentry has completed 70 percent of his throws for over 300 yards in the past two scrimmages that total four quarters.

The early part of the season will be Greer’s tuneup for its re-entry into the Peach Blossom Conference Region II-3A, featuring Greenville County schools. “We’ve got a ways to go. We’re not quite there yet,” Young said.

Head Coach Wayne Green’s Bobcats lost to Greer in its season opener last year. “Seneca will be a well coached team. Coach Green has won everywhere he went,” Young said.

Spencer Brothers returns as quarterback for his senior season with Seneca.  He will throw to Dorrian Raines at wide receiver and Marquis Arnold, running back, is compared to Nesbitt’s running style,” Young said. Dakari Morris will play end on both units but will see more playing time defensively.

Greer’s starting lineup could well be a sprint relay team. Fleming has 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, Young said. Johnson, a defensive back, who also plays wide receiver and returns kicks, matches Johnson’s speed. Toss in Fleming’s comparable speed and there is little reason to wonder why Young likes his chances with those players handling the football.

The offensive starting lineup is:

D’Anta Fleming, wide receiver

Emmanuel Kelly, wide receiver

DeAndre Moren, wide receiver

Alex Waters, left tackle

Roland Nall, left guard

Conner Merrell, center

TJ Donaldson, right guard

Cole Henderson, right tackle

Josh Gentry, quarterback

Quez Nesbitt, running back

Tyler Wright, fullback/H back

Waters, 6-5, 250 pounds, is the anchor on the line. Roland Nall, 6-5, 260, and Waters present imposing figures on the left side. TJ Donaldson played all last year for Young and joins Cole Henderson on the right side. Conner Merrell, center, is back to full speed after twisting his knee in a scrimmage at J.L. Mann.

Tyler Wright will join Nesbitt at times in the backfield as an H back and Brook Chapman, who has power and speed, will provide a change of pace with his power and speed.

“Quez can run sideways through the hole faster than I can run forward,” Young said.

The defensive starting lineup is:


Malek Johnson, cornerback

D’Anta Fleming, cornerback

DeAndre Moren, safety

Jackson Tipton, safety

John Hicks, linebacker

Tay Woods, linebacker

Tedrick Gregory, linebacker

Brook Chapman, defensive line

Tim Ballenger, defensive line

Ty Campbell, defensive tackle

Raymond Booker, defensive tackle

“We’ve spent a couple of years trying to find linebackers who could run and cover some ground. All the linebackers are fast and every one can play wide receiver.

Chapman, at defensive end, is a versatile player, Young said. “Brook is a guy with speed and he will be stronger than most offensive linemen he will go up against. He can drop back and play linebacker and he gives us a speed rusher and is a physical kid.”

The line will feature Chapman, Tim Ballenger, Ty Campbell and Raymond Booker. Chapman is a player that gives Young opportunities to use him on both sides of the ball.

Hicks returns at linebacker after suffering a concussion during summer practice. He was cleared by a doctor to play last week at the Blue Ridge Jamboree but did not play as a precautionary measure.  Hicks may be the best tackler on the team.

Johnson, a junior, played the entire 2011 season at cornerback. “He’s perfect what you want in a corner,” Young said. “Malek must have a short memory playing that position. He’s out there all by himself and that’s a challenge.” Johnson, in the last scrimmage versus Woodruff, was called for two past interference penalties that kept Woodruff’s winning drive alive. “Not all those were pass interference. We would rather have 15 yards (penalty) than a touchdown,” Young said.

Josh Cooke, a senior, is the punter. He has kicked in the 40-50 yard range. Nick Roberson has performed the placekicking duties during the summer but Tom Center, a sophomore, is also in the mix. Tyler Wright is the long snapper.

“I like to play at our place to start the season. We haven’t had a preseason event at our place and we’re ready and excited to play,” Young said.

Young said the four scrimmages with Class 4A teams (Gaffney, Byrnes, J.L. Mann and Mauldin) have prepared the Yellow Jackets for their season opener. “We’ve competed well and we had our chances in some of those scrimmages,” Young said. “We can compete with any team.”





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