By Alec Dougherty, Staff Writer
It seems like every year the buzz around the GL Football team before the season begins, continues to get louder. This is no coincidence. Over the last three years, the football program at GL has seen many changes, but the maturity and experience of the team has managed to persevere through good times and bad to give the school a reason to follow their journey. At Friday Night Lights, they aimed to start their journey with an exclamation point.
With the team in its second year of learning Coach Guyton’s playbook, senior tight end Jimmy Longo believes that experience is key to his team’s success this year. “It’s our second year learning the offense, so now we’re digging in more and designing new plays that will be great for our team.” Longo is incredibly optimistic about this year, even with a schedule that is “much harder than last year” ahead of them. He acknowledges that there will be challenges along the way, but assures that “once we start winning, we’ll keep rolling.”
The rate of GL students joining the football team in the last few years is testament to how much excitement is around the team. For senior Rob Dilly, coming back to football has always been a thought in the back of his mind. After hearing about Guyton’s revolutionary style of coaching, Dilly couldn’t resist putting on a jersey one last time. “I heard Guyton was a good coach and figured it’s senior year, my last time to really be a part of something like this.” As someone who hasn’t played football in a few years, Dilly found coming back and being accepted among his teammates was an effortless task. “We worked out for a few hours every day over the summer, so it wasn’t long before everyone got to be close.”
Though one is a GL veteran and the other a newcomer, Jimmy and Rob have both accepted great leadership roles on the team as seniors. Rather than name explicit captains, Coach Guyton elected to have all of the seniors share captainship to lead the underclassmen. “We all work hard each week together and try to set the best example for the younger guys and push each other to win games,” said Dilly of the seniors. Longo claims that they have accepted a parental role over the underclassmen, explaining that, “we all make sure that they know what to do, and if they need anything they can always come to us.”
Every year GL has a breakout player or two who keep the crowd on their feet, so I asked Jimmy and Rob to name a player to watch this year. “Definitely Jesse Giambra,” said Jimmy, “he’s a hard worker who gives one-hundred and ten percent every single play…I think he’s going to have a big year.” Rob’s pick was none other than Jimmy, by the fact that “he worked hard over the offseason and it’s going to pay off.”
“Hard work” appears to be the foundation of Guyton’s football team as they prepared for their season opener against Voorhees on September 12th. While they were not able to bring home a win on the home opener, the work ethic of GL football showed as they lit up the field with shock waves on Friday night.