August 24, 2008
Interest in football returns to Mountain View
This time last year, there were questions as to whether Mountain View would field a team for the 2007 campaign.
Ten losses, a new coach and a tornado later, the questions surrounding the team are no longer about whether they'll have enough players to compete, but rather how good the players they have will be.
Based on what he's seeing in practice, first-year head coach Matt Sullivan thinks they'll surprise some people.
"We've had a great two weeks of practice," Sullivan said. "This has been the best two weeks of workouts that I've been associated with."
At one point last year, the Yellowjackets were down to less than 15 players. As of last week, Sullivan said he had 29, down from 32 in the spring.
"I know I'm excited," Sullivan said, "and more importantly our kids are excited."
Leading the group will be senior quarterback Ethan Gammill. Gammill rushed for about 960 yards last season and passed for 1,279, Sullivan said. Combine his ability with that of junior tailback Chris Avey, and Mountain View will have some explosiveness in their backfield.
In addition to getting the majority of the touches at running back, Avey will back up Gammill at quarterback.
When throwing, Gammill will look to get the ball in the hands of two capable senior receivers, Matthew McClung and Bryant Galloway.
"They've been running the same system for three years now, and their routes are really good, and they know the offense really good," Sullivan said.
On defense, the team's leader is nose guard Jason Newman, Sullivan said. Newman is 6-0, 218, and while he doesn't tower over anyone, he's still respected by his teammates.
"He's our best lineman," the coach said. "The kids look up to him."
Sullivan said his defense will have to improve its tackling ability to compete this year, but they're making strides.
While size may not be the Yellowjackets biggest strength in 2008, just having the numbers to compete and having some experienced players back is a big deal.
"We're almost able to two-platoon it," Sullivan said in reference to not having to line players up on both sides of the ball.
In addition to having good numbers, Sullivan said there's an excitement in the community about the team that hasn't been there the past couple of years.
"We had a parent meeting last week," Sullivan said on Aug. 15. "We had 100 parents there. That's really good."
Sullivan also said the players have responded to his leadership well, doing everything he's asked of them.
"We've had practices at 6 o'clock in the morning, and they've been here and been participating," he said.
Helping to boost some confidence is Mountain View's move down from the 2-4A to the 4-3A. With dropping down a classification and having kids excited about football again, there shouldn't be a repeat of last year's 0-10 season, Sullivan said.