Grovetown’s football program enters its fourth year, moving up in class to join Columbia County foes Lakeside, Greenbrier and Evans.
To the Warriors, the move to Region 2-AAAAA is no big deal. Grovetown has played Evans and Greenbrier each season since 2010.
The Warriors lost to Greenbrier and Evans in 2010 but returned the favor last year en route to a 6-4 record.
“Last year we played Greenbrier, Evans, Harlem, and now we get to play Lakeside and we’re excited about playing them since we’ve never played them before,” said senior running back Jamal Cummings.
Coach Rodney Holder said he expects a lot of speed, strength and maturity from his squad.
“Those are things that come along with having some kids now that are four years into the program,” Holder said.
One of those players is Cummings (5-foot-9, 195-pounds), who rushed for more than 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011.
Holder said seniors Hunter Pearce and Juwan Biggers are in competition to quarterback his Wing-T offense and that they have a good group of backs, wide receivers and interior linemen.
Senior Bryce Clary (6-1, 335 pounds) is one of those linemen and enters the year with confidence.
“We’ve got a lot of guys returning,” Clary said. “I think the O-line is going to be pretty good this year.”
Defensively, the Warriors have to replace a middle linebacker along with all-county first-team defensive lineman Damon Stinger.
“If we can get those guys replaced and the young guys can grow up and become varsity football players, we’ll have a good team,” Holder said.
Holder said making the playoffs is achievable but it won’t come easy.
“We’re going to have to bang heads and somebody is going to have to survive it,” Holder said. “Whoever survives it makes the state playoffs based on whatever we do in the rest of the region. That’s why we chose our schedule. We wanted to challenge the kids, but we knew we also had to be battle-tested and tough by the time we got to those games.”