Like it or not, size matters — at least when it comes to football. Thankfully, this year's Glencoe Crimson Tide football team has it.
Ian Reynoso, who's beginning his second year as head coach and sixth with the program, said that while he's still building what he hopes will be a consistently winning program, this year's team will rely heavily — no pun intended — on the big nasties up front.
"Definitely one of our strengths will be our size on the offensive line," Reynoso said. "We have three seniors and two junior starters, and average more than 270 pounds. If we can get those kids to be the aggressors up there, we might have something."
The Tide spent most of the summer working out at Liberty High School due to construction at Glencoe, but despite the temporary relocation, Reynoso said their summer participation was considerably up compared to last year.
"We had our most consistent numbers and 20 more guys in the weight room," the coach said. "It's another step toward building a winning program."
In his first year at the helm, Reynoso's group finished 3-6 overall, with wins over crosstown Hillsboro, David Douglas and Madison. But while the winning is invaluable to any coach and team, for Reynoso it was an opportunity to apply all of the things he'd learned at his various coaching stops — and under various coaches.
"It's been fun because I had been planning on being in this position for a number of years, so I was taking notes from all the different programs I worked for," Reynoso said. "The biggest thing I learned last year is how important your staff is. I have a great staff around me who's so supportive, which has lightened my load. Having them is fantastic."
The coach will be without quarterback and all-around athlete Bryce Fornshell this season due to graduation, but said that in his absence he believes they'll be more consistent. He thought that as a result of Fornshell's athleticism and heightened escapability, the guys around him often relied too heavily on the quarterback's ability to make something out of nothing. But because he won't be there this season, the kids have made strides when it comes to understanding the system.
"Bryce was such a talented athlete and his success and athleticism had a lot to do with our lack of understanding of truly how our offense worked, because when things broke down we could always rely on Bryce to make something happen," the coach said. "Now, we've stepped it up so everyone is on the same page and we'll be more consistent offensively because of it."
Senior Carson Wilson will be taking over at the quarterback position. Reynoso said he and his staff had projected Wilson as a running back coming into the season, but as things progressed, saw the ability and leadership they wanted from their signal-caller.
"We talk a lot about when people ask you what position you play, we say, 'I play Glencoe football,' and Carson has been one of those guys," Reynoso said. "We had projected him to be a running back for us this year, but due to his progression and some history playing quarterback, we asked him and he said, 'coach, I'll go where you need me.'"
Thankfully, Wilson will have that line in front of him, consisting of juniors Jesiah Keiser and Luke Egbert, along with Jonathan Ashford, Benton Reynolds and Colton Stadelman — who Coach Reynoso said is a beast.
"He's the strongest kid we've ever had in our program," said the coach. "A couple years ago I implemented the '1,000 pound club,' not knowing if I'd have anyone around to do it because it's hard to hit that. But he hit it."
Stadelman is one of a handful of team captains, including Wilson and junior defensive back Tyler Cox, who's started in each of his first two years at corner, but will be moving to safety this season.
In addition to the line, Wilson and Cox, Reynoso mentioned defensive back/receiver Kai Stout, kicker Zack Schlottmann and running back/linebacker Royce Fasel as key contributors to this year's team. Fasel, who tallied 103 tackles as a freshman last season, is a physically gifted athlete who his coach said is a "really, really talented player." And Schlottmann — who also plays linebacker and receiver — is an incredibly talented kicker who can hit consistently from beyond 50 yards.
"He's got a fantastic leg and is really consistent from distance," Reynoso said. "He'll be a fun weapon for us."
Reynoso said that in light of his team's many strengths, its primary weakness is a lack of winning experience — something he knows can only come from being there, and doing that.
"We need guys to learn how to fight when things are hanging in the balance," he said. "That will show the character of our team, and our kids know that."
Glencoe opens the season against arch rival Hillsboro at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, at Hare Field.
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